Eight skinny homes, all market rate. Parking’s only a consideration at this point.
Everett Custom Homes announced last year that they intended to develop homes on a vacant lot at SE 65th and Holgate. They proposed up to seven or eight homes, fully intact with alleyway access and detached, rear garages. The proposal sparked some debate as to whether the character of the houses would fit the neighborhood, as well as the impact more high-priced homes might have on the area’s affordability.
And then there was parking. And that worry might be growing for nearby residents, as the detached garages originally included in the plan have suddenly disappeared from the most recent submission. And with other design features requiring potential code modifications, there’s increasing concern about the merits of the project. The current designs have triggered a Planned Development Review due to the narrow width of lots—24 feet in most cases—and side setbacks from each of the property lines. In essence (from my understanding), they are seeking the ability to build more houses than building code currently allows.
Here is an excerpt from the Design Review:
“In addition, a Planned Development Review is triggered since Lots 2 through 7 are proposed to be less than 25 feet wide and developed with detached housed (33.611.200.C.2.b). The applicant also requests Modifications to reduce the side building setbacks (33.110.220) for Lots 1 though 8. The applicant requests a reduction in all the side setbacks that are interior to the site from the required 5 feet to 4 feet for the building walls, 3.5 feet for bay window and eave projections.”
Density can be good. Don’t get me wrong. It keeps us city folk from encroaching too much into forestlands, watersheds, and other natural areas outside of the urban boundary. It also adds to the housing stock, which (in theory) helps maintain affordable prices. (Though, that’s probably just theoretical in inner-SE.) There’s also a rationale behind development that encourages the use of alternative forms of transportation (read: limited or no parking). And in some cases, the fight against infill may be a tad overblown. Let’s also not forget that the current state of the vacant lot brings its own set of problems.
But for those most directly impacted, that all might not mean as much. And with parking already scarce on this particular block (a six-unit apartment building is finalizing construction across the street), it seems like what was once just an issue for folks on Division street to debate has suddenly crept into the Foster environs. And when a developer gives a concession to the neighborhood in good will and then conveniently takes them away without notice, perhaps questions/objections are worth posing.
What say you?
Is this kind of development good for Portland? The neighborhood? Does it ward off rising home prices or just speed up gentrification and further erode the affordable housing stock? Too crowded or not dense enough for an urban neighborhood?
Have at it, folks…but keep it civil.