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Eugene plans for more ‘middle housing’ in compliance with state law

The City of Eugene is facing a July 2022 deadline to implement a 2019 law that requires larger cities in Oregon to allow more types of housing in residential areas.

Posted: Mar 4, 2021 11:15 AM
Updated: Mar 11, 2021 7:36 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – The City of Eugene is facing a June 2022 deadline to implement a 2019 law that requires larger cities in Oregon to allow more types of housing in residential areas.

Assistant City Planner Sophie McGinley said under House Bill 2001, duplexes, triplexes, cottage clusters and townhomes (collectively known as middle housing) will be allowed in many more areas of the city. In the past, many local governments only allowed for the development of large, single family homes typical of a suburb.

The challenge now, McGinley added, is engaging with the community and deciding exactly how to implement the rules because the law grants some flexibility to municipalities in how exactly to roll out the change.

Eugene is looking at three options, which range from the minimum of simply allowing developers to build more housing all the way to providing incentives for developers who choose middle housing.

“We're trying to hear from the public to see what they want,” McGinley said.

The law also instructs local government to look at ways to make such housing more affordable.

“There's these two parts of the bill. They say that we must allow middle housing types to be built, and that we shall explore ways to make them affordable. So, the big thing ... is to increase the supply of housing,” McGinley said.

However, because it’s up to individual developers to decide what to build, McGinley said there’s no estimate of how many additional housing units might be built in the future.

McGinley is encouraging residents in the city to fill out a survey to help guide the code writing. That feedback will be presented to city councilors, who will ultimately vote on how to move forward.

“Our job is to ask the community how we should comply with this. So we're waiting for those results. And then all we do is take those results, back them up and give them to council,” McGinley said.

You can learn more about the city’s middle housing plans here.

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