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Residential Infill Project Re-Zoning Rules Unveiled

The “final proposed” Residential Infill Project (RIP) re-zoning rules were unveiled last week.

Here’s what we need to know:

  1. All of Laurelhurst will be re-zoned, except the “north corner” between NE Sandy and NE Halsey, . Almost every single-family neighborhood beween the Willamette and the I-205 will be re-zoned, as well as a few other areas. See city maps below.

  2. The re-zoning will permit a duplex +ADU on every lot, a triplex on every corner, and in some cases an extra “bonus” ADU. In other words, many classic houses demolished, a lot of construction, and four households on every lot.

  3. The new duplexes/triplexes may be up to 3,750 sq ft including main floors and habitable basement, not including attics. The ADUs may be 750 sq ft each. These new structures will be larger than almost every house in Laurelhurst.

  4. The new zoning will also permit clusters of six or eight small houses + ADUs on larger (double) lots. With no parking.

  5. There is an exemption for contributing houses in a historic district. They may be internally converted to duplex/triplex and have ADUs, but they may not be demolished for the purpose.

Here is the city's map showing the re-zoned areas, in yellow:

Here is the detail map for Laurelhurst: our entire neighborhood, other than a few blocks north of NE Sandy, will be re-zoned. You can see the detail map for any part of the city using the app here.

The re-zoning will allow the following building types: houses with 2 ADUs, duplexes with 1 ADU, and triplexes - and in some cases a "bonus" ADU. There can be up to four households living on every lot. Parking for all units is not required.

The illustrations to the right are from the city. But the actual buildings permitted by RIP will look very different.

The new buildings can be much larger than shown. On a 5,000 sq ft lot (typical for our neighborhood), the re-zoning permits main floors totaling 2,500 sq ft. A daylight basement can add another 1,250 sq ft, for a 3,750 sq ft building. The attic is not included. Each detached ADU can be 750 sq ft. The result will be 4,500 sq ft multi-family developments everywhere in the neighborhood.

The new buildings can be much taller than shown. The re-zoning includes a 30 feet limit but that is measured to the mid-point of the roof. The actual height, to the roof peak, can be at least 36 feet.

The median size of existing houses in Laurelhurst is just 2,230 sq ft. See chart below, data from city and assessor databases.

A 3,750 sq ft development is larger than 94.5% of existing houses in Laurelhurst!

A 4,500 sq ft development is larger than 98.6% of existing houses in Laurelhurst!

(Data from city and assessor databases. Commercial and church properties excluded, except Bitar Mansion and Mayor's Mansion on SE Ankeny. Square footage includes main floor and finished basements/attics, excludes unfinished space and garages.)

But here's something you should know. The Residential Infill Project re-zoning contains an exemption for historic districts. A contributing house in a historic district may not be demolished to make a duplex/triplex. It may only be internally converted. The conversion cannot change more than half of the exterior and cannot increase square footage by more than 800 sq ft.

In a Historic District, homeowners can add ADUs, make additions, and remodel. Homeowners can internally convert homes to add more units. But developers will not be allowed to demolish historically contributing houses to build duplexes and triplexes.

Laurelhurst is not - yet - a protected Historic District. But Over 83% of our neighborhood's declarations SUPPORTED historic district. If we want to actually become a historic district, we have to raise the money to get it done. Quickly.

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