Code Map Refinement Testimony to Council August 2017



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Proposed Comprehensive Plan Map Refinement Comments
Date: Fri, July 28, 2017 7:43 pm


Please accept these comments concerning proposed changes to the CM1 zone on Marquam Hill. They represent the board-approved position of the Homestead Neighborhood Association as well as my own comments.


At the end of the Comprehensive Plan update process, the Portland City Council directed BPS staff to reexamine the CM1 zone. In response, BPS staff has now proposed a mix of RH and CM2 zoning to replace the CM1 zone.


Proposed RH Zone

The RH zone designation proposal for the area appears appropriate as proposed. It will encourage the multi-family development needed in this underutilized residential area to promote the walk-to-work neighborhood on the top of Marquam Hill that has been a long-standing goal of the Homestead neighborhood. With respect to building height, I suggest that a fine-grained approach be taken; using applicable floor area ratios to adjust for where extra height can be accommodated (at the base of the hill, for example), and for where lower height is desirable (as a step-down to lower density, for example).


Proposed CM2 Zone

A full-fledged CM2 zone is inappropriate as proposed. A CM1 zone as originally planned for is preferred. This is because the CM2 zone allows types of development to occur as a matter of right that are inappropriate for this location:

  • Commercial parking is completely inappropriate. It could be located across the street from an area where parking development of all types is currently restricted by the City as a partial solution to immense commuter traffic volume problem on Marquam Hill residential streets. The presence of commercial parking would defeat the City's own traffic control measures. There is no doubt that there is a demand for commuter parking on the Hill. OHSU has a long waiting list of commuters wanting parking spaces. To their credit, OHSU and Tri-Met have implemented significant and successful public transportation initiatives. Currently, approximately 40% of OHSU employees commute using public transportation. A CM2 designation allowing commercial parking to be built would be an impediment to the continued success of these initiatives.
  • Vehicle repair services (trucks, motorcycles, automobiles) are also allowed to be built as a matter of right in the CM2 zone and are out of character for this hospital/residential area.
  • The same objection applies to industrial service and wholesale sales developments.

It appears that the primary objection to the CM1 zone is to its more restrictive height limits. This is a problem of the planners own making and could be solved in two ways:

  • With a CM1 zone modified to allow for greater height.
  • With a CM2 zone modified to disallow offending uses.

Thank you for considering these comments.


Milt Jones