How the Zoning Code hurts

Re-Coding Planning

While this article focuses on California, many of the points apply to Eugene as well. Our Metro Plan, Envision Eugene, state-wide goals, and our climate recovery initiative indicate that Eugene should be growing in a compact way that makes it easier for people to live places where they are less car-dependent.  To ensure that we have a large enough supply of housing to meet demand and keep housing affordable, our codes should make it more practical to build housing of all types-- not just single family homes.

Over the years, you can see where there have been attempts made to make the code more friendly to different housing types, and to encourage development that promotes walkability. However, inconsistencies and loopholes mean that much of the code works against walkable development. For example, extensive parking requirements for most areas of Eugene mean that in some cases 50% or more of the land available for development must be used for car storage. Townhomes, owner-occupied cottages, accessory dwelling units, duplexes and other "missing middle" housing face many limitations and restrictions that make them much more difficult to build than detached single family homes. Even relatively recent code revisions and special areas zones make new development difficult and preferences single-family homes over other housing types.

Perhaps we need to take some time to figure out if our code actually will allow us to build the type of buildings that meet our goals.