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Quick Guide to the Jefferson Westside Neighbors’ Proposal for Zone Amendments to the

Jefferson Westside Special Area Zone and the Chambers Special Area Zone


Recent State laws require City of Eugene to amend its residential zones, including two “special area zones” in the JWN:

Jefferson Westside Special Area Zone (“S-JW”) in blue: Bordered roughly by Polk, W. 8th, Jefferson (but not including property that fronts Jefferson). and 13th as well as the area South of Amazon Creek, Lincoln Alley, W. 16th, to Charnelton, to W. 17th, and Olive.

Chambers Special Area Zone/R-2 Subarea (“S-C/R-2”) in yellow: “R-2” subarea is bordered roughly by Chambers, W. 8th, 13th, and Polk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new regulations require that for every “detached, single-family dwelling,” the City must allow an “accessory dwelling,” subject to “reasonable regulations related to siting and design.” Based on decisions in legal challenges by the Home Builders of Lane County, the following rules apply:

  • An “accessory dwelling” is just about any form of second dwelling, including an interior, attached or detached dwelling.
  • Minimum lot size and/or maximum density standards cannot differentiate in a way that would allow a detached,
    single-family dwelling, but would prohibit an accessory dwelling on the same lot.
  • Additional off-street parking cannot be required for an accessory dwelling.

Eugene-Springfield Metro Plan Residential Density Designations (City zoning standards must not conflict.)

  • Low Density Residential (“LDR”): Up to 14.28 dwelling units per net acre
  • Medium Density Residential (“MDR”): Over 14.28 up to 28.56 dwelling units per net acre
  • High Density Residential (“HDR”): Over 28.56 dwelling units per net acre

The areas encompassed by the S-JW Zone and the S-C/R-2 subarea are designated LDR and MDR. None of the area is HDR.

Comparative density allowed by current standards, JWN proposed standards, and Planning Division staff proposal

  • Current density allowed in S-JW Zone and the “R-2” subarea of the S-C Zone: 15 to 19 dwelling units per net acre – MDR
  • Density that would be allowed by JWN proposed standards: 17 to 22 dwelling units per net acre – MDR
  • Density that would be allowed by Planning Division staff proposed standards: 29 to 38 dwelling units per net acre – HDR

The JWN has proposed the following code amendments to comply with the State regulations and the Eugene-Springfield Metro Plan residential density designations. The detailed markup for the code amendments is available at:

https://trusttheneighbors.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/jwn_proposed_s_sw_adu_code_amendments_17may2021.pdf

(A) Use the broadest definition of “accessory dwelling”

On all lots in the special area zones simply allow a second dwelling for each detached, single-family dwelling. There is no special distinction of an “accessory dwelling.” This is the current standard for these special area zones and allows more flexibility than the “accessory dwelling” standards in the R-1 Zone (the city’s prevalent “single-family” residential zone).

(B) Remove off-street parking requirement for accessory dwellings and remove the current on-street parking credit
for all dwellings

The current special area zone parking requirements allow available curbside, on-street parking to be counted towards overall parking requirements. In most situations, this credit allows a second dwelling without additional off-street parking.

The current “parking credit” should be removed to balance the mandated removal of any parking requirement for second dwellings. This is not a perfect “net zero” approach, but it’s simple, reasonable and complies with the new State laws. The result will be comparable to the parking standards that apply in Eugene’s R-1 Zone.

(C) Allow a second dwelling on non-standard lots and remove the current provision that allows dividing an existing lot to create a new non-standard lot

The current special area zone lot standards allow an existing lot to be divided into two smaller lots, one of which can be “non-standard” – either half the size of a standard lot and/or accessible only from an alley. The purpose of this progressive standard was to allow small, more affordable lots but limit them to a single dwelling, which would also be more affordable for new homeowners or renters in the JWN neighborhood.

State law now dictates that the JWN’s special area zones allow a second dwelling, even on extremely tiny lots and even on lots with no street access and no off-street parking. This would be unsustainable if standard lots could be divided and up to four total dwellings thereby allowed within the boundaries of the original lot.

Unfortunately, the only sustainable response is to no longer permit standard lots to be divide to create new non-standard lots, at least until the legislature fixes the State law. The result will be comparable to the current lot standards that apply in Eugene’s R-1 Zone.

(D) Allow only interior or attached accessory dwellings on non-standard lots

As explained above, State law now dictates that two dwellings be allowed on non-standard lots. To mitigate the significant potential impacts on sustainability and livability, the JWN proposal would limit the second dwellings to interior or attached dwellings, and not allow detached second dwellings.

(E) Maintain the already compliant allowance for two dwellings on most standard lots

The current special area zone standards already allow two dwellings on most standard lots, i.e. lots that are between 4,500 and 8,999 square feet. Legal decisions have confirmed that this standard complies with the new State laws. Other than some wording changes, this standard would remain the same.

(F) Revise the calculation of allowable dwellings on “large” standard lots that are 9,000 square feet or more

The current special area zone standards have a simple calculation for the number of dwellings allowed on larger lots – one dwelling per 4,500 square feet. This obviously allows three (or other odd numbers of) dwellings on larger lots, which would potentially conflict with the State requirements.

The solution is unavoidably more complex and essentially comprises two components: Allow “pairs” of dwellings based on lot sizes, and allow compliant development of odd numbers with “plexes.” e.g., a triplex. The “net” is slightly different than the current approach but maintains a relatively equivalent allowance for the number of dwellings allowed on larger lots.

(G) Revise the terminology used for additional standards for the number and configuration of dwellings allowed on a lot

The current S-JW Zone has a sophisticated set of standards that take into account the total number of bedrooms in determining the number of dwellings allowed on a lot. Based on city staff preferences at the time the S-JW Zone was adopted, the current approach translates the calculation into a “density” metric.

To avoid any question of compliance with State law, this approach has been rewritten in a more direct manner. The revised version also takes into account that a second dwelling would be allowed on a non-standard lot. Here again, the “net” is slightly different than the current approach but maintains a relatively equivalent allowance for the number and configuration of dwellings allowed on larger lots.

Summary

The JWN Executive Board has carefully developed a proposed set of amendments to the JWN’s two ground-breaking special area zones, which have allowed accessory dwellings for more than a decade before the State adopted a “one-size-fits-all” dictate. The proposed amendments fully-comply with State law, provide clear-and-objective standards, and are consistent with the purposes and findings that the City Council unanimously adopted when the special are zones were approved.

Get involved! Take the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZW759BM

You can let the JWN Executive Board know your opinion about each of the proposed changes above, as well as provide opinions and suggestions on any aspect of future residential development in your neighborhood.

City Staff Changes Large Swaths of Neighborhood from Medium to High Density

Action Needed:

Contact City Council [Eugene Mayor, City Council, and City Manager” <MayorCouncilandCityManager@eugene-or.gov>] NO LATER THAN SUNDAY MAY 23 and tell them to engage JWN leadership. Ask the City to send notice to the over 1,100 property owners who were never informed about the doubling of S-JW and S-C/R-2 density. With adequate time allowed and good-faith collaboration with JWN leadership, there can be an opportunity to also engage more of the JWN members.

What does that mean to you?

The proposed changes mean that standard-sized lots in these two zones would allow FOUR dwellings, rather than the current limit of TWO dwellings. The result would allow HIGH-DENSITY (29 to 38 dwellings per acre) development in these two MEDIUM-DENSITY zones that currently allow 15 to 20 dwellings per acre.

What areas are impacted?

We found out at a rather late date, and with no notification to either the JWN Executive Board or neighbors, that city staff is recommending large swaths of the JWN be upzoned from medium to high density. The proposed ordinance was posted online on May 5th, just 12 days before the May 17th Public Hearing. No notice was sent to any of the residents or property owners to advise them of the ordinance that was the subject of the public hearing. An earlier notice was sent in April to only 15 of the over 1,100 households in these zones. Contrary to what that notice stated, the planners didn’t make any version of the ordinance available for review at the time the notice was sent.

The City of Eugene’s Neighborhood Organization Recognition Policy requires that neighborhood associations be advisory to the City Council, Planning Commission, and other city boards, commissions, and officials on matters affecting their neighborhoods. There are multiple statutory and local regulations requiring proper and effective notice–starting at least 35 days before the public hearing–when such radical zoning changes are proposed. The city failed on all counts, leaving over 1,100 households unaware of this de facto upzoning.

These zoning changes are being done in the guise of making our special area zones “compliant” with the state law on ADUs (accessory dwelling units). However, there is no such requirement.

  • The Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) has already stated that the current zoning regulation is compliant.
  • We have prior statements by the City Attorney and Planning Director stating the current zoning regulation is compliant.
  • A land use attorney engaged by a JWN member also found the current zoning regulation is compliant.

We have made repeated attempts to work with Planning Division staff (we met in-person and exchanged numerous emails) in an attempt to either change their strategy or convince staff to do the required public notification and take public feedback. So far, staff has entirely rebuffed and stonewalled the JWN.

Our continuing efforts to reach a compromise are why this notification is so late going out.

To be clear this is NOT about delaying or obstructing the ADU Ordinance. The JWN supports the 1-to-1 ADU to detached structure mandate of SB 1501. This is about lack of notification and overreach. What is proposed is not required by the ADU statutes or any court opinion.

Even if you support increased density – the process here should cause you concern. Next time it could be anyone who is unpleasantly “surprised” on any changes to zoning with little or no chance to respond.

The JWN wants the ADU Ordinance to go into effect, but staff’s current trajectory is toward a costly, time-consuming, and completely avoidable appeal. The clear failure to provide the required notification to owners of impacted properties in the S-JW Zone and S-C/R-2 subarea zone alone is grounds for appeal, let alone the direct conflicts with the comprehensive plan.

The impacted area

Here are points to include in your message to City Council:

  • The Jefferson Westside Special Area Zone (S-JW Zone) and the Chambers Special Area Zone, “R-2” subarea (S-C/R-2 subarea) are being “de facto” rezoned into high-density zones, doubling allowable density of our already dense neighborhood.
  • The proposed changes include doubling the level of alley development and traffic — more dust and vehicle noise in backyards; more potential for vehicle/pedestrian bike conflicts. Recall, the city does not pay to maintain alleys – homeowners pay.
  • The proposal tears apart the carefully constructed balance of density and livability. The S-JW already allows for 40% more dwellings, but limits the scale and impacts.
  • Only 15 of over 1,100 households were notified of this radical upzoning and no one from the JWN Executive Board was contacted to provide input into the Planning Division process.
  • Despite repeated, good-faith requests from the JWN Chair, staff rebuffed any constructive engagement and instead held back JWN comments and recommendations from the City Council.
  • No one knew the full extent of the extreme nature of the upzoning until May 5, just 12 days before the May 17 Public Hearing. No time to become informed or formulate effective comments.
  • The City Council’s decision is scheduled for May 24, far too little time for any meaningful revisions to the staff proposal.
  • The staff proposal violates the Metro Plan “Medium Density Designation” maximum density of 28.56 dwelling units per net acre. Using reliable analysis, the upzoning will allow from over 29 upwards to 38 dwelling units per net acre
  • Council needs to hold off on any decision until there can be a legitimate chance for citizen involvement.

The problems here are so serious and obvious that an appeal is guaranteed, yet again delaying implementation of the ADU Ordinance. Further delays are both unacceptable and avoidable, if only staff would agree to the required public notification and time for people to respond and negotiate with the JWN on an acceptable solution.

Action Needed: Contact City Council [Eugene Mayor, City Council, and City Manager” <MayorCouncilandCityManager@eugene-or.gov>] NO LATER THAN SUNDAY MAY 23 and tell them to engage JWN leadership. Ask the City to send notice to the over 1,100 property owners who were never informed about the doubling of S-JW and S-C/R-2 density. With adequate time allowed and good-faith collaboration with JWN leadership, there can be an opportunity to also engage more of the JWN members.”