At its August 25th public hearing, the UGB steering committee heard testimony on numerous aspects of the proposed ordinance to adopt the output of the urban growth boundary project.
In connection with this final round of deliberations, BNC submitted comments to the written record asking the committee once again to add language to the policy statements in the Comprehensive Plan that will allow for transitional zoning.
BNC believes it is important to include the possibility of a step-down in permitted uses within a defined buffer zone in order to minimize “offsite impacts and nuisances” where residential zones abut commercial or mixed use zones. This type of policy is standard in many other cities that have learned how to achieve some degree of harmony between adjacent zones with different levels of intensity of use.
The existing policy statement allows for special design standards, such as reduced building heights or larger setbacks, but the physical design of a building is only one aspect of its impact on surrounding areas. The use of a property has a much greater impact. Currently, however, there are no policy statements in the Comprehensive Plan that provide justification for implementing policy tools such as the “Neighborhood Compatibility Zones” called for in the Central Westside Plan.
BNC’s comments did applaud the insertion of a statement in the “Vision of Neighborhood Livability” calling for, “Comfortable integration and transitions between housing types and commercial uses.” While nice-to-have, “comfortable” is a very imprecise notion. The concept of transitional zoning or reference to step-downs in permitted uses would be much more specific.
To read or download the letter to the UGB Steering Committee, click here.