Peeling Back The Layers of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan
– Implementation –
On June 15, 2016 the City Council adopted the 2035 Comprehensive Plan (goals, policies, and designation map). Therefore, the “main dish” i.e. City of Portland 2035 Comprehensive Plan has been sent to the “Master Chefs” at the State of Oregon to make sure the dish goes well with the regional (Metro) and state planning requirements that currently exist. What do we do for the next year and a half while we wait to eat? Well, there continues to be plenty to keep Portlanders busy in the kitchen while the Comprehensive Plan simmers for the next two years waiting to become effective in January 2018.
There are a number of early implementation projects in various stages of the planning process keeping us busy right now. Remember those onion layers? Read below for the latest update and how you can engage.
What is it?: The Composite Zoning Proposal combines proposed Zoning Map changes from four 2035 Comprehensive Plan Early Implementation projects into a single map: Mixed Use Zones, Residential and Open Space Zoning, Campus Institutional Zoning and Employment Zoning.
Why it is important: If the Comprehensive Plan is the outer portion of the onion, the zoning proposals are layered beneath and are the parts that can really can make us cry! It’s because zoning digs in deep and gets specific on how the vision of the Comprehensive plan will be achieved. It dictates the type of use, form, design and compatibility of development in the places we live, work, play, and learn.
Where are we in the process?: Each of these projects had their own public review process, including Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) public hearings. With these combined, there a fresh opportunity to review these map changes and provide testimony to the Portland Sustainability Commission (PSC) Hearing July 12th. You have an opportunity to provide testimony in person July 12th or in writing before the July 12th Hearing. Following the PSC’s public hearing on these zoning updates, the Commission will recommend a new Zoning Map to City Council, which will hold additional hearings tentatively scheduled for fall 2016.
What is it?: The guiding document for how and where future transportation investments are made. It includes policies, a list of capital projects, and a financial plan.
Why it is important: Changes in land use – population and jobs growth – impact our transportation system, and vice versa. The coordination of land use and transportation is important for future movement of goods and people. The list of capital projects also is important because some federal and state funding sources require projects to be on this list and because with limited resources a balance must be struck between meeting the needs of all modes in all areas of the city.
Where are we in the process?: On July 14, 2015 the Portland Planning & Sustainability Commission voted unanimously (10 – 0) to recommend for City Council consideration a twenty year list of Major Projects, Citywide Programs, Refinement Plans and financial projections. To learn more about what was approved go here. The TSP will move forward to City Council with the other Comprehensive Plan early implementation projects in August.
What is it?: This project provides updates to the City’s process and practices for engaging and involving the public in Land Use and Transportation decisions and processes. This project will bring the City into alignment with the Comprehensive Plan’s community involvement goals and policies
Why it is important: Collaborative partnerships and inclusive community participation in land use and transportation decision making are essential to creating and sustaining a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Portland. Plans and investments are more durable, equitable and accountable when a wide and diverse range of Portlanders are involved and thereby invested in them. To pull from our cooking metaphor, if the comprehensive plan and early implementation projects are the outcome of a community involvement process, then the City’s community involvement practices (Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies” are the directions at the end of the recipe that tell you what ingredients to mix together first and what tools to use to get the desired outcome. Recipes need to be tweaked and updated now and again. If you don’t like the outcome of a process you can typically look to a couple culprits, bad ingredients or poor directions. In this case, the city is looking at the process for engagement and tweaking is to ensure the directions are up to date and the outcome rises in the middle and is delicious!
Where are we in the process?: The Planning and Sustainability Commission heard testimony on the Proposed Draft and recommended the Community Involvement Program on June 14, 2016. Click here to see meeting materials and a video of the hearing. The Community Involvement Program will move forward to City Council with the other Comprehensive Plan early implementation projects in August.
What is it?: This project includes a package of eight amendments to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan zoning code and zoning map aimed at addressing conflicts between the updated Comprehensive Plan and the existing Zoning Code resolving apparent conflicts between the 2035 Comprehensive Plan policies and existing code.
Where are we in the process?: The Proposed Draft of the Miscellaneous Zoning Amendments Project report was released on June 21, 2016. The PSC will accept testimony on the Miscellaneous Zoning Amendments Project through July 26, 2016, when a public hearing on this topic will be held. Following this public hearing the PSC will make a recommendation to City Council. The public comment period will then re-open when City Council considers this recommendation in late 2016
So what do we do about changes in our community before January 2018? Portlanders are in a state of – potentially confusing – transition where current 1980 policy and current zoning is still king, but we know what the future brings. This may be a time where some will rush to make land use changes prior to the new rules, while others may find it more advantageous to wait until 2018. Time will tell.
1. Adopted 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which includes information on: How to Use the Plan, Goals and Policies, Comprehensive Plan Map (citywide and by district), List of Significant Projects, Glossary, Citywide Systems Plan, Transportation System Plan, etc.
2. Comprehensive Plan – Vesting FAQs Handout: Describes when a development project will be subject to existing zoning regulations versus new zoning regulations related to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
3. 2035 Comprehensive Plan – Policy Amendments Considered by Council (Summary of Vote Outcomes), dated May 2016.
4. Comprehensive Plan Task 5 – Implementation, which includes information on : Composite Zoning Proposal, Mixed Use Zones Project, Miscellaneous Zoning Amendments Project, Residential and Open Space Zoning Map Update, Community Involvement Program, Employment Zoning Project, Transportation System Plan (TSP).
By: Leah Fisher
Neighborhood Planning Program Manager