What is middle housing?
"Middle housing" include duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses and cottage clusters. These housing options are a similar footprint as a conventional, single-family house, but include multiple dwellings. The dwellings may be rented or owner-occupied and may be attached or detached.
There are five types of middle housing:
- Duplex: 2 attached dwelling units on one lot.
- Triplex: 3 attached dwelling units on one lot.
- Quadplex: 4 attached dwelling units on one lot.
- Townhouse: Between 2 and 4 attached dwelling units, each on their own lot.
- Cottage Clusters: A grouping of five to eight small houses oriented around a common greenspace or courtyard.
What is the purpose of HB 2001?
The State Legislature had three housing goals for HB 2001: options, supply, and diversity.
- Options: Provide more housing options to meet needs of different households.
- Supply: Increase overall housing supply.
- Diversity: Encourage more inclusive neighborhoods by allowing more affordable housing types in more areas.
When will these changes take effect?
House Bill 2001 requires the City of Lake Oswego to amend our Community Development Code by June 30, 2022.
Staff has recently released a public review draft of the proposed code amendments, which were considered at the Planning Commission's public hearing on April 11, 2022. A subsequent Public Hearing at City Council is scheduled for May 17, 2022.
If the city is unable to adopt code that complies with middle housing requirements by June 30, 2022, the State's standardized Middle Housing Model Code would be automatically applied to the City.Back to top
Are other cities required to allow middle housing?
Yes. All cities and counties with a population of 10,000 or more within Oregon, unincorporated areas within the Portland Metro boundary that are served by sufficient urban services, and all cities within the Portland Metro boundary with a population of more than 1,000 are required to comply with House Bill 2001.Back to top
What are some advantages of middle housing?
Middle housing units are generally smaller and more affordable to buy or rent than a detached, single-family house. More middle housing units could result in more affordable housing options.
Allowing middle housing in Lake Oswego will also provide property owners with more flexibility to build on their land. Homeowners will be able to add rental units to their property to offset the costs of homeownership and to accommodate different household needs, such as seniors aging in place or singles seeking rentals.
Additionally, allowing middle housing will eliminate existing zoning restrictions that have historically contributed to the exclusion of underrepresented populations in certain neighborhoods.Back to top
What are the requirements for HB 2001?
HB 2001 requires the City of Lake Oswego and other "Large Cities" (Portland metro area cities, and cities with more than 25,000 residents) to allow all middle housing types in areas zoned for detached single-family dwellings.
The bill also outlines that cities may regulate siting and design of middle housing. However, cities may not adopt standards or requirements that result in unreasonable cost or delay in the development of middle housing.
The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) adopted minimum standards for compliance with HB 2001 (Division 46), as well as a Middle Housing Model Code in December 2020. Though these standards are relatively prescriptive in defining what cities can and cannot do, they do provide some flexibility for the City to make decisions within certain parameters.
The City is required to make a number of changes to the Community Development Code in order to comply with HB 2001 and not be compelled to adopt the State's Model Code. Major changes include adding definitions for new middle housing types and allowing middle housing in the same areas where detached single-family dwellings are permitted today. This is a significant policy shift in areas where middle housing types are not currently permitted (such as the R-15, R-10, R-7.5, R-6, and R-W zone districts) and a more moderate shift in areas that currently allow some middle housing development (such as the R-5, R-DD, R-3, R-2 and R-0 zone districts).
For more information about zoning in your area, please visit the City's LO Maps website.
Because Lake Oswego's existing development code does not allow for these options in most zoning districts, the City is proposing to amend our Community Development Code in order to comply with the bill.Back to top
How is the City responding to HB 2001?
As directed by the City Council, the City has proposed draft code amendments that comply with HB 2001, while maintaining consistency with the community's sense of place, neighborhood character, and livability.
This multiyear project began in late 2019, when City Council requested that staff monitor the State of Oregon's rulemaking process regarding the implementation of HB 2001. Staff tracked numerous meetings of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) and other technical advisory committees established by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). Staff provided a total of 14 monthly written and oral reports to the Planning Commission to ensure the community was kept informed about the State's rulemaking progress and key issues related to the bill.
On December 9, 2020, the Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted the implementing rules for HB 2001 (Division 46), which provides the roadmap for local governments' compliance with HB 2001. Following the adoption of these rules, the Planning Commission hosted several presentations in order to learn directly from professionals who were involved in the development of HB 2001 or have specific expertise related to middle housing.
City staff, working with a consultant team led by Cascadia Partners, researched and gathered other information to help educate the community about the new State rules. The process was publicly initiated through a "kickoff meeting" in January 2020 to inform neighborhood association chairs of engagement opportunities available during the first phase of work. All City-recognized neighborhood associations were invited to participate. These engagement opportunities included Neighborhood Character Interviews that were coordinated with representatives from 17 different neighborhood associations, as well as a Neighborhood Character Survey that received 880 responses reflecting input from residents of all 28 Lake Oswego neighborhoods.
The results of this work provided a rich source information that allowed City staff to better understand the physical characteristics that residents value the most in their respective neighborhoods. These results are summarized and reflected in the Neighborhood Character Report, which includes a qualitative analysis of the development patterns, character and architectural history of Lake Oswego neighborhoods based on extensive research and analysis. Other phase-one work included a Plan and Code Audit Memo that identified Comprehensive Plan and Community Development Code sections that must be updated for compliance with HB 2001 and a Middle Housing Opportunities Report, including concepts and alternatives for amending the Comprehensive Plan and CDC for middle housing, consistent with HB 2001.The Council and the Planning Commission considered these initial findings and created an Ad-Hoc Middle Housing Code Advisory Committee (MHCAC) to provide high-level policy guidance for the development of draft code amendments to comply with HB 2001. The MHCAC was comprised of 13 voting members representing a diverse set of interests. The MHCAC conducted six meetings between July and October 2021 to consider code concepts related to: the preservation of existing residential structures; the scale and character of new middle housing; stormwater management; and the affordability and accessibility of middle housing. Recommendations developed through the MHCAC process are summarized in the MHCAC Key Issues and Summary Memo.
City Council directed staff (with Planning Commission and public input) to prepare code amendments that are required to be adopted by the state-mandated deadline of June 30, 2022 and which are consistent with the MHCAC's recommendations. More recently, the Planning Commission held four work sessions to discuss remaining policy questions related to proposed code amendments. Code amendment recommendations developed by staff (under the guidance of the Planning Commission) were then presented to City Council at their meeting on February 15, 2022.
In early December 2021, the City hosted the first virtual Middle Housing Community Forum to provide information on the City's approach to middle housing and to allow for public input before drafting recommended code changes. This effort included launching an accompanying StoryMap and Survey that was made available to the public for several weeks. The City hosted a second virtual Community Forum on March 22, 2022, to provide information and answer questions about the proposed code amendments, and staff is providing presentations to neighborhood associations upon request.Back to top
What options does the City have for regulating middle housing?
The state’s minimum requirements for middle housing in Oregon Administrative Rule 660 (Division 46) provide cities with more control over the design of middle housing and less control over the location or density of middle housing. Cities are allowed to adopt specific siting and design standards for middle housing, within certain limits. This means that the City can:
- Apply the same minimum lot size standard that applies to single-family housing (except not to townhouses);
- Apply the same design standards that apply to single-family housing; and
- Apply the same dimensional standards (maximum height, setbacks, lot coverage, maximum floor area, etc.) that apply to
- single-family housing.
According to Division 46, the City generally cannot:
- Limit middle housing to a small area within residential zones;
- Require significantly larger lots for middle housing than single-family housing;
- Apply more restrictive design or dimensional standards to middle housing than single-family housing; or
- Require more than one parking space per middle housing unit.
How were neighborhoods involved in the process?
City staff and a consultant team led by Cascadia Partners analyzed Lake Oswego neighborhoods to understand the physical characteristics and design attributes that residents value the most. This analysis is summarized the “Neighborhood Character Report”. The Report also documents residents’ concerns about the potential for neighborhood change due to development of middle housing and provides strategies for how new housing can be integrated into the community based on distinct “character areas” and consistent with identified values. In addition, the Middle Housing Code Advisory Committee appointed by City Council included representatives from Lake Oswego’s neighborhood associations.
The City held their second virtual Community Forum event on March 22, 2022, and staff is currently providing presentations to neighborhood associations upon request.Back to top
How does this affect my neighborhood?
It’s too early to know for sure. While middle housing is permitted in some cities, currently, Oregon is the first state to adopt middle housing requirements on a statewide basis. This means that there are limited examples or case studies that might give us an accurate sense of how this change will impact the housing market at a neighborhood scale.
That being said, the data coming from “hot” housing markets in Oregon that currently allow middle housing – cities like Bend or Portland – indicates only small incremental increases in development due to middle housing of 1 to 3 percent over a period of twenty years.
While the bill was intended to permit middle housing in areas where it wasn’t previously allowed, it doesn’t prohibit the development of detached single-family homes. Though more housing types will be permitted within all residential zones, the overall scale or mass of middle housing buildings will still be subject to the same zoning requirements as detached single-family housing.
This means that middle housing developments such as duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and townhouses would need to work within the same three-dimensional zoning “envelope” – including setbacks, building height, floor area, lot coverage, etc. – as detached single-family housing. In other words, middle housing developments will not be permitted to be any larger than what is allowed for detached single-family housing, so any additional dwelling units constructed as middle housing would need to be contained within the same “envelope” as a single-family dwelling.Back to top
Can private covenants limit middle housing?
HB 2001 and Division 46 do not directly address existing private agreements, deeds, or covenants, codes, or restrictions (CC&Rs) that could impact the development of middle housing.
While the rules do prohibit new or future CC&Rs that prohibit the development of middle housing, they did nothing to alter existing agreements retroactively. City and state governments are not a party to private CC&Rs. It would be a monumental task for cities to understand where CC&Rs exist, what they prescribe, and whether they are actually enforceable through private legal action by a party to those CC&Rs.
For these reasons, DLCD has recommended that local governments not consider CC&Rs when formulating zoning code provisions for middle housing.Back to top
How can middle housing be made compatible with single-family homes?
City Council has directed staff to draft code amendments that comply with the minimum requirements of Division 46.
This means that middle housing must generally be subject to the same dimensional standards that apply to single-family dwellings in a given zoning district, including maximum height, minimum setbacks, maximum lot coverage, and other similar standards that establish the maximum bulk or “envelope” permitted on a site. With respect to design standards, the City must either apply the design standards of the DLCD Model Code or apply the same design standards that the City applies to single-family housing.
While many standards for middle housing must adhere to the same rules that apply to detached single-family dwellings in the same zone, there are certain areas where the City had more flexibility to uniquely adapt standards to middle housing.
For example, Division 46 provides cities with the flexibility to set a maximum floor area for individual units within a cottage cluster; the draft code amendments reflect that the City is proposing a maximum average floor area of between 1,000 and 1,200 sq. ft. for individual units within a cottage cluster, depending on the zoning district. The City has also proposed defining cottage cluster developments to include between five and eight cottage units, as allowed under Division 46.
The City is also proposing enhanced design standards for garages and driveways in order to address the potential increased visual prominence of front-facing garages and driveways that could accompany middle housing. While these enhanced garage standards will apply to both middle housing and detached single-family dwellings, they represent a new approach that is designed to ensure garages and driveways on new buildings do not detract from existing neighborhood character in neighborhoods throughout the City.Back to top
What infrastructure will be required for middle housing?
Similar to development of single-family houses, middle housing developments will be required to connect to public water and sewer, meet stormwater requirements, receive permits for driveways, and pay all required fees, including system development charges. While the City is not allowed to prohibit middle housing in areas where sufficient infrastructure does not exist, the burden can and will be placed upon the developer to provide the infrastructure improvements necessary to support a proposed middle housing development.Back to top
Can middle housing lots be "divided"? (What is Senate Bill 458?)
In May of 2021, the Oregon Legislature adopted Senate Bill 458 (SB 458) as a follow-up to HB 2001 in order to facilitate lot divisions for middle housing that allow units to be sold or owned individually. As clarified by the State in an associated guidance document, “For any city or county subject to the requirements of House Bill 2001, Senate Bill 458 requires those jurisdictions to allow middle housing lot divisions for any HB 2001 middle housing type (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters)” built pursuant to the State’s minimum requirements for middle housing (ORS 197.758). SB 458 only applies to land divisions permitted on or after June 30, 2022, which is the same date as the State’s deadline for compliance with HB 2001.
The bill requires that cities process middle housing land division applications using an “expedited land division” procedure, as long as the application includes a plan that:
- Complies with applicable middle housing land use regulations and the Oregon Residential Specialty Code;
- Provides separate utilities for each dwelling unit;
- Provides “Easements necessary for utilities, pedestrian access, common use areas or shared building elements, dedicated driveways/parking, and dedicated common area”; and
- Results in no more than one dwelling unit per each resulting lot or parcel.
The bill is intended to facilitate land divisions for middle housing where the original or “parent” lot complies with applicable middle housing requirements in order to make dwelling units in middle housing developments available for individual ownership. This is primarily intended to address the difficulty of making middle housing units available for ownership.
Unlike other partition or subdivision processes contained within the City’s current code, land divisions to create middle housing do not always increase in the density permitted on a lot or parcel. Because HB 2001 requires that cities allow an increased number of dwelling units on parcels that meet minimum lot requirements regardless, land division applications will not be necessary to develop middle housing with up to five units on parcels currently zoned for single-family residential use. New lots created through the SB 458 “expedited middle housing land division” process would not be granted additional development rights, and must be maintained to meet the standards applicable to the parent/master lot.
Cities will retain the ability to require or condition the following for middle housing land divisions:
- Prohibition of further division of the resulting lots or parcels;
- A notation in the final plat indicating approval was provided under SB 458 (later on, this will be the resultant ORS reference);
- Street frontage improvements where a lot or parcel abuts a street (consistent with House Bill 2001); and
- Right-of-way dedication, if the original parcel did not previously provide a dedication.
However, cities are not allowed to apply approval criteria beyond those provided in SB 458; this means that the City could not require additional driveways, vehicle access, parking, minimum or maximum street frontage, or other requirements that would not need to be met on the “parent” lot. While SB 458 does limit the ability for cities to condition or require such elements, compliance with all applicable middle housing regulations – including those related to vehicular access, parking, frontage width, etc. – would still need to be demonstrated on the “parent” lot prior to a middle housing land division. SB 458 specifies that, in order for a middle housing proposal to be eligible for a land division, it must comply with all of the land use regulations applicable to the original lot or parcel allowed under ORS 197.758 (5) - including the full scope of administrative rules outlined in Division 46.Back to top
Will accessory dwelling units (ADUs) still be allowed?
Yes. Though HB 2001 generally relates to duplexes triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses and cottage cluster housing, the bill also contained some provisions related to ADUs. For example, cities are not allowed to require owner-occupancy of, or minimum parking for, ADUs as of January 1, 2020; the City’s code has since been amended to reflect this change. The permit procedure for ADUs remains unchanged.Back to top
How much parking will be required?
Pursuant to the minimum compliance provisions of Division 46, the City’s off-street parking requirements for all middle housing types must be updated to require no more one parking space per dwelling unit – which is the current requirement for detached single-family dwellings. The draft code amendments under consideration reflect the change to one required parking space per dwelling unit for detached single-family and middle housing dwellings.Back to top
What is the timeline for adoption?
HB 2001 requires cities to amend their development codes by June 30, 2022.
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Monday, April 11, 2022 to consider the proposed amendments. The code amendments are then scheduled to come before City Council for approval in May 2022 in order to be adopted prior to the state-mandated deadline.Back to top
How can I be informed and involved in the process?
You can subscribe to receive email updates and stay informed on the latest middle housing news from the City of Lake Oswego at:Back to top
What if the City chooses not to allow middle housing?
If the City does not adopt the standards in HB 2001 by the June 30, 2022 deadline, the City will be required to apply the State’s Middle Housing Model Code standards, rather than its own.
As opposed to the State’s “one-size fits all” Model Code approach, City Council has provided staff with direction to draft middle housing regulations unique to Lake Oswego that maintain the existing character of neighborhoods throughout the City to the fullest extent feasible.Back to top
Can the City promote for sale vs. rental housing?
Middle housing could take the form of either for-sale or rental housing.
As a response to concerns that it may be difficult to provide home ownership opportunities for middle housing allowed pursuant to HB 2001, the Oregon legislature adopted SB 458 in order to facilitate lot divisions for middle housing that allow units to be sold or owned individually. (For more, see the response to Question 13, above.)Back to top
How can we encourage one-level living options?
By allowing cottage cluster homes, the City may encourage development of middle housing with smaller living spaces on a single level.
In addition, the Middle Housing Code Advisory Committee (MHCAC) appointed by City Council recommended the City consider adopting financial incentives for middle housing projects that meet certain accessibility standards. While financial incentives are not within the scope of work for compliance with HB 2001 as directed by City Council, the City may consider incentives as part of a future update to the 2013 Lake Oswego Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) as required by House Bill 2003. The updated HNA is due in 2023.Back to top
How does HB 2001 impact historic landmark properties?
Under the rules adopted by the state, cities are allowed to institute their own discretionary review processes for middle housing proposed in historic districts or on properties designated on the historic register. However, a city cannot deny an application on the fact that the development is middle housing, especially based on standards related to use, occupancy, and density.Back to top