Medford plans to change housing development codes – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The reason for the changes is state legislation relating to affordable housing, multi-unit housing

Medford City Council will consider two changes to the city code intended to facilitate the development of specific housing types.

Councilors voted unanimously to move forward with the proposals at their meeting on Thursday. Both proposed changes would update the city’s land development code and are based on bills signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in 2021.

One amendment, titled “Affordable Housing,” would be for affordable housing development while the other, “Land Divisions for Intermediate Housing,” is for developments that would create multi-unit housing.

Council staff reports about each cite the goal of increasing the amount of housing available in the city by preserving and promoting the development of “safe and affordable housing choices in Medford that meet the needs of its current residents. and future”.

An amendment to the affordable housing code is based on Senate Bill 8, which requires local governments to permit the development of certain forms of affordable housing on land not zoned for residential purposes, such as industrial or commercial.

Carla Paladino, the city’s lead planner, explained that SB 8 defines affordable housing as residential property where units are made available to households with incomes at or below 80% of the area’s median income. or “average units are available for households with incomes of 60% or less of the area median income.

The bill requires local jurisdictions to license this type of affordable housing that would be owned by entities such as a public body or a non-profit corporation “organized as a religious organization.”

It allows permit exceptions to these developments, such as locations zoned for heavy industry.

Developers could also increase the density of certain types of affordable housing or reduce density and height allowances to “address a health, safety or livability issue or to comply with a protective measure related to a housing purpose.” ‘state-wide land use planning’.

The other amendment to the code would bring the city into compliance with Senate Bill 458. This bill focuses on land division and is considered a companion bill to the 2001 bill.

HB 2001 was approved by state lawmakers in 2019 as a way to provide more housing by subdividing individual single-family residential areas for multi-unit housing.

Habitat for Humanity of Oregon in May 2021 described SB 458 and HB 2001 as a way to further encourage construction of “affordable entry-level homes and provide a wider range of homeownership options. that correspond to the budgets of a greater number of working families”.

SB 458 calls for such developments to be provided by local government in 63 days instead of the current 120 days.

“The application would be considered as a Type II Planning Director decision, as a public hearing cannot be held for expedited land divisions,” Paladino said.

Senate Bill 458 takes effect July 1, so the changes should be in place by June.

“If the code is not changed by the end of June, the city will use the language of the bill to address a split of mid-rise housing lots under SB 458,” Paladino said.

Advisors will focus on the specific wording of these changes later this month.

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