By Allen Field

The Richmond Neighborhood Association held its monthly meeting October 10, at Waverly Heights Church, SE 33rd and Woodward St. RNA meetings are held in the church basement. The RNA website is richmondpdx.org.

The deadline to sign up for the December 3 Friend of Trees planting was October 31 for the 4-way neighborhood planting for Richmond, HAND, Buckman, and Brooklyn.  The deadline to place orders for trees is November 14. All street trees are $35, but conifers for parking strips greater than 6’  with no overhead powerlines are free, plus large native yard trees are free as well.

Land Use Chair Matt Otis presented on two issues for RNA to take a position on to meet October deadlines: inclusionary housing and Mixed Use Zones. The issues were added to the Committee Reports portion of the agenda a few days before the meeting.

Inclusionary housing was allowed through recent legislation that allows local governments to require developers to build up to 20 percent of units at below market rates in exchange for incentives, such as tax exemptions, fee waivers and height bonuses.  Inclusionary zoning could apply to multifamily housing buildings with 20 or more units.  The rents on such units would be set at 80% percent of area median family income.

The RNA voted to “support inclusionary zoning”, but added in the provisos that (1) it is “concerned that incentives need to be calibrated so that we achieve affordability,” and (2) “if FAR bonuses are used, we want to see more assessment of impacts such as solar shading,” and (3) it would “recommend increasing Floor Area Ratios from 2.5:1 to 3.5:1 for small buildings.”

Under the city’s Mixed Use Zones project, the city will institute a new mixed use zones system: CM 1, CM2, CM3 and CE. Much of the business districts of Hawthorne and Division are proposed to be CM2, which allows for buildings up to 5 stories; SE Powell has been proposed to be CM2 with some properties proposed to be CE (Commercial Employment), which allows for “some light manufacturing and distribution/employment uses … with limitations on new residential uses. Buildings in this zone are generally expected to be up to four stories.”

According to Marty Stockton, BPS’s SE Liaison, an extensive public involvement process would be required for the city to recommend changing its proposal for properties in Richmond from CM2 to CM3. CM3 would allow for buildings up to 7 stories tall.

RNA voted to recommend that the city “minimize or eliminate CE zoning in Richmond,” that it “prefers more pedestrian-oriented Zones CM2 or CM3”, and “CM3  [is] preferred on Powell,” with the proviso that these recommendations be combined “with [an] assessment of impacts — such as solar shading – for adjacent residential properties.”

Liana Corliss asked the Board if it would support her proposal to recommend that properties on SE 38th between Market and Hawthorne and on Market be zoned R2.5, and properties on Cesar E. Chavez be zoned R1, to counter the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s recommendation that all these properties, except her house and an adjacent neighbor, be rezoned to CM2, allowing for 5 story buildings. No vote was taken on the matter.

The RNA voted to create a new Emergency Preparedness Committee.

The Board tried to reach agreement on language in the draft Division Design Guidelines whether to recommend a 1st story 18’ minimum height for mixed use buildings, upper floor setbacks, or to refer to a 3-story community preference stated with respect to answers to a question on scale in a Division design survey.

The next RNA meeting will be Monday, November 14 at Waverly Heights Congregational Church (basement), 3300 SE Woodward St., from 7-9 pm.