Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Residential Infill Design Hoax

Residential Infill Design
What it does to a neighborhood.

Evergreen Neighborhood
Development issue:  lot coverage, house size/mass, setbacks, roof projections, wall extensions..

Developer is requesting changes to the development code to allow Residential Infill Design changes to build 4 townhouses that would cover 41% of the lots and allow other exceptions to code that would increase the size and mass of the homes and undo the regular codes and the area code overlay.

RID is a process that allows changes to existing development codes for new development on pre-developed land.  This means, all codes are up for grabs!  Neighborhoods are wondering, why do we have codes or overlays at all if they can be challenged and changed so easily?    

For all documents related to the case, see Project Number: LU 15-0053

There is no reason why the variances need to occur, and the Evergreen NA has proposed options similar to another development on 6th Ave. (Use Link below to read an explanation of Evergreen's objections and counter proposal.)  The developer does not agree.  The permit has been approved by the planning department, however case has been appealed to the Design Review Commission, and deliberations will be held on Monday, Nov. 7.  (Meeting is televised on TVCTV and on the City website. - I think.) The testimony portion of the hearing is done.

Evergreen Neighborhood Association's objections to this development are thorough and well-reasoned.  What happens here will set the tone for all kinds of abuses of code in every neighborhood every time something new is built.  In this atmosphere, there is nothing anyone can count on  anymore.  The war between the Planning Department and Citizens continues.  What will the new council bring - more havoc or peace?

The Planning Department makes the code, the Planning Department interprets the code, and the Planning Department grants variances to the code.  Now we will see what the DRC does.  If the case is appealed further like the Wizer Block development permit, the City Council may hear the case and make the final decision.  How will the City Council treat these kinds of developer applications now and in the future?  How will citizen concerns stack up against developers' desires to upend our codes?  Why do you think local elections are so contentious these days?  It will only get worse.  Developers and builders are fighting over every scrap of land in the city no matter what is on the lot now.  It's ugly out there - one would say uncivil.  If the City Council wanted to bring peace to the land, they could stop all RIDs and variances now and do a review of why they are needed at all.  Don't hold your breath.  

From the Project website:

Applicant Request:

The applicant is requesting approval of the six following RID Review design variances in order to construct two pairs of zero-lot line dwellings:
  •   Reduce the 25-foot front yard setback to 20 feet (Units A and D) and 24 feet (Units B and C);
  •   Reduce the 15-foot combined total side yard setback for each pair to a 10-foot combined total;
  •   Reduce the 30-foot rear yard setback to 20 feet (Units A and D) and 16 feet (Units B and C);
  •   Increase the maximum allowed lot coverage for all lots by 479 sq. ft. (from 25% to 41%);
  •   Allow 100% roof projections into the Evergreen Overlay front setback plane (Units B and C); and,
  •   Allow wall plane extensions (22 feet for Unit A and 12 feet for Units B, C, and D) beyond the 60-  foot long wall plane maximum.
In order to construct the dwellings, the applicant is also requesting the removal of two trees, a 34-inch spruce and 52-inch cedar. 

1 comment:

  1. RID is essentially a trampling of the code at the whim of the Planning Department. The developer just has to convince the planners that the design is "better" than what code allows. during the DRC hearing there were discussions between the architect and the planner about the size of fascia boards! This RID alternative should be eliminated.