Methadone-Dispensing Clinic on 11th Possible Zoning Issues

Is the Proposed MAT Clinic Location on W. 11th allowed under the Metro Plan, the Westside Neighborhood Plan, and Existing Zoning? Perhaps not. Analysis.

Point of clarification: the issues raised here have nothing to do with the placement of the MAT Clinic in the JWN, the need for expanded services, or the effectiveness of the program. There is a compelling need that we support. However, the city rightly demands that all land use conforms to existing code and land use rules and in order for their to be equity among all developments, everyone must follow the rules. The JWN Executive Board would be in dereliction of its duties if it let certain projects slide because they would be, in our estimation, beneficial. That is not our call.

NOTE: The County MAT Team is presenting their plan and answering questions at the December 17 JWN Executive Board Meeting. The presentation starts at 7pm @ the McNail-Riley House at the corner of Jefferson and W. 13th.

[Analysis provided by Paul Conte, JWN Land Use Advisor]

Lane County Pursuing Methadone-Dispensing Clinic in JWN

Lane County Health and Human Services (HHS) Department is pursuing acquisition of the former Jones Roth building on the southwest corner of W. 11th Ave. and Lawrence St. to operate a Methadone-dispensing clinic. (Tax map and lot: 17-03-31-31 00100) This site is within the boundaries of the Jefferson Westside Neighbors. There is housing adjacent to the south and west sides of the site and commercial uses, including the Downtown Liquor Store, across the streets to the north and east.

The site’s base zone is “C-2 Community Commercial,” and the “/SR Site Review” overlay zone also applies. The Metro Plan designation is “Medium Density Residential” (MDR). The Westside Neighborhood Plan (WNP) applicable policies for the “East Residential/Mixed Use Area” that encompasses the site include:

Although the site is unambiguously designated for “medium-density residential” development in both the Metro Plan and WNP, the Metro Plan allows “Neighborhood Commercial Centers” to be located in areas designated residential. The Metro Plan defines both “Neighborhood Commercial Centers” and “Community Commercial Centers.” Community Commercial Centers are allowed only on sites that are explicitly designated as “Commercial” on the Metro Plan Diagram, which the subject site is not.

Eugene’s Land Use Code includes the “C-1 Neighborhood Commercial Zone,” which implements the Metro Plan’s Neighborhood Commercial Center and the “C-2 Community Commercial Zone,” which implements the Metro Plan’s Community Commercial Center. It thus appears that the C-2 zoning conflicts with the Metro Plan, and that the C-1 zone is the only commercial zone that would conform to the Metro Plan’s “Residential” designation.

The C-1 zone does not allow a “Non-residential drug treatment clinic”; whereas the C-2 zone does allow a drug treatment clinic. Because only the C-1 zone conforms to the Metro Plan, a drug treatment clinic would not conform to the Metro Plan.

The Oregon Supreme Court in Baker v. City of Milwaukie (21 OR 500 (1975)) stated:

“Likewise, the City of Milwaukie, upon adopting a comprehensive plan, had a duty to implement that plan through the enactment of zoning ordinances in accordance therewith.


In summary, we conclude that a comprehensive plan is the controlling land use planning instrument for a city. Upon passage of a comprehensive plan a city assumes a responsibility to effectuate that plan and conform prior conflicting zoning ordinances to it. We further hold that the zoning decisions of a city must be in accord with that plan and a zoning ordinance which allows a more intensive use than that prescribed in the plan must fail.

Because C-2 allows “more intensive uses” than the C-1 zone, including drug treatment clinics, the Supreme Court decision prohibits the City from permitting a drug treatment clinic on the proposed site because the site’s plan designation, as implemented by the C-1 zone, does not allow such use.

The /SR overlay zone also imposes several requirements, including that a proposed use comply with “any additional specific factors applied at the time the /SR designation was applied.” (See Eugene Code 9.8440(7)). Those factors, if any, would also need to be determined if Lane County were to submit the required “Site Review” application to allow a drug treatment clinic.