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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 14, 2009 9:27 AM. The previous post in this blog was More cages at OHSU. The next post in this blog is Have a great weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Don't drop it on your foot

This is enough to make any lover of Portland's beautiful old neighborhoods nervous: The city is getting ready to take a pretty big whack at its zoning code. A report on all the proposed changes runs 266 pages and includes 62 separate items. Here it is -- "shovel-ready," as it were -- courtesy of Sustainable Susan and the gang.

The "stakeholders" know what's in there -- they always get first dibs on city policy -- but do the rest of us?

Comments (15)

That's also how I'd describe any statement by Sam Adams:
"Shovel-ready."

Some one needs to take a close look at this. Last time the planners did some "housekeeping," they allowed duplexes on corner lots zoned for single family residences.

When I got of college, I really needed to get a job like this. NIce paycheck, great benes and all I have to do is sit and think up new rules all day long.

I'd equate each new page to 10 less new jobs in Portland.

Maybe Randy wants more of the 25 ft. wide houses he shoved into single family neighborhoods. I miss the good ol days when planning was fun, visionary and inclusive.

Re: 25 ft. wide houses
So very many new construction homes I see in listings now have in bold caps boasting 'NOT A SKINNY HOUSE.'
But YOU should live in one.

Re: 25 ft. wide houses:

That might be a luxury. Page 22 shows the width of a "house" well within a 25 ft. span. Looks more like a 15 ft. width.

Zoning codes and ordinances are rarely (but not always) made with community empowerment in mind--they're made with the goals of (a)maximizing space and (b)minimizing disaster.

and so much of these standards are subjective, aesthetic ones based on a world view more like Adams, Gragg or a cheapo developer, and less on any thoughtful, long term standard of human and ecological health.

I do see a section in there for community stakeholders, though; it uses the name "Ben Dover" to represent a typical citizen.

Our "lot" is 30 ft wide; there's a little space -- maybe 2-3 feet on each side of the house. Adjacent houses on both sides are similar (though the one to the east has a driveway beside the house and 40' of street front. Built in 1890.

That might be a luxury. Page 22 shows the width of a "house" well within a 25 ft. span. Looks more like a 15 ft. width.

Most places the LOT is 25 feet wide.

I have seen many places that are only the width of a single garage door.

What ... zoning... who needs any stinking zoning... unless it's spot zoning.. shades of the '70s in NWDA territory where the city was always trying to pull one switcheroo or another.

Having looked through the document, I see at least two big developer give-aways. First, the 5-year vacancy rule (the only thing, in my view, preventing this whole city from being infilled with skinny houses) is basically gutted (see page 22). Any developer or landlord wanting to build around the 5-year vacancy rule only has to have the current property condemned--very easy to do with neglected maintenance or a sledgehammer. Alternatively, by some new sleight-of-hand trick, he can put up two attached houses on the lot, also without the 5-year wait. Second, it appears (see pp. 200-203)that on corner lots developers only need 1600 sq. ft. to have a buildable lot in an otherwise 2500 sq. ft. building zone.

I also see apparently-relaxed rules concerning solar panel and wind turbine installations. But who in their right mind would go to the expense of installing these when at any time infill could be built next door blocking the sunlight and/or wind you need for them to operate?


So truly glad we're moving out of state and won't have to see the slow motion disaster going on in Portland much longer. 80 days and counting.

Soon lots will be so small that when you go to the can your neighbor will hand you the toilet paper. Hmmm Might make a good movie shot.
M.W.

The recommendations for item 55 actually propose taking something away - a loophole from would-be developers of snout houses. This is a heavy enough item that it's been noticed by the Oregon HBA, who is protesting. And - get this - they believe there's going to be lots of testimony on this issue.

So, reading on through, what does this document propose be done? But of course - form a different stakeholder group to address just this issue.

Any guesses which group will be overly represented at the table the next time around?

At least her smugness Susan demonstrates how smart she is.


http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/still-not-convincing/


Susan Anderson says:
2 August 2009 at 12:21 PM
"Wow, a self described “not very successful” science student decides this failure/ignorance is bliss and goes and joins the denialosphere. There the solid rubber brain can bounce continuously between assertion and self-satisfaction, fueled by extensive materials from the ever-evolving industry and political PR and well financed pseudo think tanks.

No amount of wide-ranging multidisciplinary work by thousands (millions?) of scientists over many decades will ever make a dent in this kind of smugness. The big picture they have access to is ever so much more reliable than that of those who do the work to gain and enlarge knowledge.
I probably should have resisted the temptation to pen this, but it makes me so angry because it endangers not only their posterity but ours."


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Miles run year to date: 220
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