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PP 12-0007: Phase 2 Community Development Code Streamlining and Updates

Project Background/Summary

The City is working on improvements to the Community Development Code to make it more clear, concise, adaptable and user-friendly. The project continues the work of the 2010 Community Development Code Audit and the Phase 1 Code Reorganization completed 2012, and supports the Comprehensive Plan update.

Project Description

Two components of the Code Streamlining and Updates project are moving forward during spring 2014:

  1. Updates to the Adjustments, Alternatives and Variances and Non-conforming Structures and Uses code sections
  2. Clear and Objective Housing Standards

The Commercial Code Streamlining Component is expected to move forward in the fall of 2014.

Project Descriptions

The overall project consists of three main components:

1. Updates to the Adjustments, Alternatives and Variances and Non-conforming Structures and Uses code sections

The City is exploring amendments to sections of the Development Code that a) allow adjustments or variances to code standards and b) regulate nonconforming structures and uses. The amendments are intended to update, streamline and simplify these code sections so they are easier to understand and administer. Amendments under consideration include the following:

• Variances, Adjustments and Alternatives [LOC 50.08]: Combine or reduce some of the eleven existing procedures by which an applicant can vary or adjust standards in the Development Code. Simplify and clarify the criteria in order to improve understanding. These amendments involve changes to criteria for variances and adjustments that apply to specific areas of the City. For instance, R-DD (Old Town) Administrative Modification, and Lake Grove Village Center Adjustments.

• Nonconforming Structures and Uses [LOC 50.01.006]: Clarify existing language and remove conflicting terms, add provisions to cover all of the common types of nonconformities, and in some cases, allow more flexibility in modifying nonconforming structures in a manner that does not increase the degree of nonconformity. In design districts, including the Downtown Redevelopment Design District and the Lake Grove Village Center Overlay District, modifications to certain nonconforming structures would become more restrictive.

This topic was discussed at the following Planning Commission meetings:  April 29, 2013, November 13, 2013.  It was also discussed at a public forum on April 11, 2013, a neighborhood meeting on March 27, 2014, and an informational meeting on May 15, 2014.

2. Establish Clear and Objective Housing Standards

As part of Lake Oswego’s Periodic Review task, the City must bring its Community Development Code into compliance with State rules and statutes. The City has drafted amendments to bring the Code into compliance with State requirements for clear and objective housing approval standards, intended to reduce unnecessary costs and delays in permitting needed housing. The amendments involve changes to the Downtown, Lake Grove, West Lake Grove, and Old Town design district codes, as well as to building design standards that apply to attached and multi-family housing citywide.  Under these codes today, development proposals are reviewed against many discretionary standards. Under the proposed code amendments, applicants proposing new housing could choose to comply with new clear and objective standards, or follow the discretionary review path where greater design flexibility may be approved if the proposal meets the intent of the standards.

This topic was discussed at the following Planning Commission meetings:  January 14, 2013; February 24, 2014; April 28, 2014. In addition, a neighborhood meeting was held on March 27, 2014 and an informational meeting on May 15, 2014.

3. Updates to Commercial & Mixed Use Zoning

The City has narrowed the scope of this component with regard to zone consolidation and barriers to mixed use development. Staff anticipates moving forward with draft amendments following Council adoption of the two project components listed above. Additional information and public outreach will take place in the fall of 2014.

  • Streamlining the commercial/industrial use table
  • Consolidation of commercial/mixed-use zoning districts in the West Lake Grove Design District

This topic was discussed at the following Planning Commission meetings: January 14, 2013; April 8, 2013; June 24, 2013.

How can I get involved?

Lake Oswego residents and stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to participate in the process. Public input will be sought through a focus group, advisory committee meetings, open houses, Planning Commission & Development Review Commission meetings, and public hearings. We encourage you to participate!

For the latest project information and opportunities to participate, visit this web page or email Jessica Numanoglu or call her (503) 635-0283 or email Sarah Selden or call her (503) 697-6524.

What is the project schedule?

This project began in August 2012, and is now in Phase D: Public Review, Final Work Sessions and Adoption Hearings. Upcoming meeting announcements and related materials can be found on the right side of this webpage under “Related Meetings.”

A. Project Kick-off (August 2012)

  • Code evaluation/research
  • Focus group meeting with commercial development and business professionals

B. Draft and revised code concepts (September 2012 – April 2013)

  • Code concepts reports were prepared that laid out various options to address the project components
  • Advisory committee meetings, community meetings/open houses,  and work sessions with the Planning Commission and Development Review Commission were held to review the code concepts and identify the preferred alternatives

C. Draft code amendments and Planning Commission work sessions (April 2013 – February 2014)

  • Draft code amendments were prepared to implement the preferred alternatives
  • Advisory committee meetings and work sessions with the Planning Commission and Development Review Commission were held to review draft amendments
  • Revised draft amendments were prepared

D. Public Review, final work sessions and adoption hearings (March - August 2014)

  • A public meeting will be held and information on the proposed amendments shared on the project website and listserv
  • The final code amendments will be drafted
  • A final Planning Commission and Development Review Commission work session on the Clear and Objective Housing Standards will be held
  • Public notices will be sent to property owners where the code amendments apply
  • Public hearings before the Planning Commission will be held and a recommendation made to the City Council on amendments to:
    • Adjustments, Alternatives and Variances and Non-conforming Structures and Uses (May 12 hearing)
    • Clear and Objective Housing Standards (June 9 hearing)
  • City Council public hearings will be held to consider the Planning Commission’s recommendations

Keep Informed

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