Friday, January 19, 2018

IZ Rules Are Preventing Developers from Building in Portland's Historic Districts

Developers looking to build new housing in historic districts in the city of Portland are finding that the combination of historic requirements and inclusionary zoning requirements are keeping projects from penciling out. The 13-story Omni Tower project on NW 5th Avenue and Glisan in Old Town would have been allowed under zoning rules, but the Historic Landmarks commissioners said the height was out of context with the rest of the district. The owners argue that the tower wouldn't pencil out at a lower height, given the requirement that 20% of the units remain affordable. The Old Town neighborhood has a high concentration of affordable units, but that is not factored into the IZ requirement. The Historic Landmarks Commission suggested that the developer appeal the decision to the City Council, which would be more likely to approve it, but that would extend the timeline and add additional costs to the project. When the City Council voted to implement the inclusionary zoning policy, it did not consider exempting historic districts. Read more.

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