Portland to Consider New Residential Infill Regulations

The city of Portland's new residential infill ordinance would reduce the number of 1:1 demolitions—which often convert older, affordable homes into expensive McMansions.
October 11, 2017, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Portland is ready to pick up its consideration of an infill development ordinance meant to curb the development of McMansions and spur the development of missing middle housing.

As Michael Andersen reports for Portland for Everyone, the idea behind the ordinance is that "amid a housing shortage, it’s stupid that so many construction sites are spending half a million dollars to replace one house with one house."

The Portland City Council approved the legislation in concept in October 2016, but now the ordinance is back in draft form and ready for finishing touches.

Andersen describes the two big ideas at the core of the new legislation:

  1. The maximum size of new buildings in lower-density residential districts would drop sharply, reducing the total number of demolitions.
  2. In much of the city, the new, smaller structures that are built could legally be duplexes, triplexes and clustered cottages, increasing the total number of homes — especially small ones.

Andersen places the new legislation in context of the city's skyrocketing housing costs—almost every freestanding home in Portland's pre-1940 street grid now costs more than $400,000.

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Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 in Portland for Everyone
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