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Statewide Zoning Changes Adopted in Oregon to Limit Parking, Add Missing Middle

The state of Oregon made planning history in 2019 by adopting House Bill 2001, paving the way for the state to preempt local exclusionary zoning laws. Now, over a year later, the state land use board has decided how to implement that goal.
December 15, 2020, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Missing Middle Housing
Sightline Institute: Missing Middle Homes Photo Library

"In the first action of this kind by any US state, Oregon’s state land use board voted unanimously last week to sharply downsize dozens of local parking mandates on duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, and cottages," reports Michael Andersen.

The approved changes will immediately impact 58 jurisdictions around the state, giving teeth to the planning vision implemented statewide in 2019 by House Bill 2001. According to Andersen, the action by the state land use board effectively legalizes Missing Middle Housing types throughout the state. The statewide preemption of the action makes the approval "arguably the biggest state-level parking reform in US history," adds Andersen.

As for the zoning nitty gritty, Andersen shares this summary fo the new rule's approach to parking requirements:

Under the new state rules for larger cities and the Portland metro area, middle-housing projects on residential lots of 3,000 square feet or less can’t be required to have more than one off-street parking space, total, for the first four homes. For lots of up to 5,000 square feet, no more than two parking spaces can be required, total; for lots of up to 7,000 square feet, no more than three spaces. On lots larger than 7,000 square feet, a limit of one mandatory parking space per home applies.

Those changes to parking regulations will have an immediate effect, striking down parking mandates, in Oregon cities like Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Bend, Medford, and Springfield, according to the article.

The article includes more detail about how the state board arrived at the new formula for parking requirements, much of which came down to the interpretation of the two-word phrase "unreasonable costs."

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Published on Monday, December 14, 2020 in Sightline Institute
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