Middle Housing

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Project Background

Eighty percent of residential zoning in Eugene is designated for single-family homes, yet young adults, smaller families, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that increase access to public transportation and services reduce maintenance costs and provide more social opportunities. The Eugene Middle Housing Project will revise the Land Use Code to improve housing choices in the short term and affordability in the long term for Eugene residents.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001, requiring cities to allow more types of housing in residential areas, particularly in more traditionally single-family neighborhoods where

Project Background

Eighty percent of residential zoning in Eugene is designated for single-family homes, yet young adults, smaller families, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that increase access to public transportation and services reduce maintenance costs and provide more social opportunities. The Eugene Middle Housing Project will revise the Land Use Code to improve housing choices in the short term and affordability in the long term for Eugene residents.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001, requiring cities to allow more types of housing in residential areas, particularly in more traditionally single-family neighborhoods where housing choices are limited. Revising Eugene’s Land Use Code to comply with House Bill 2001 will shape how our community develops and expand opportunities for where people can choose to live and what type of home they live in, and we want to hear from you! The Land Use Code will be amended to allow middle housing in residential areas by June 2022.

What is “middle” housing?

Middle housing refers to a range of smaller attached or clustered housing types that are typically built at a similar scale as single-family detached houses. The term “missing middle” housing was coined by urban planner Daniel Parolek to refer to housing that fits in-between single-family homes and larger apartment buildings but that’s largely been missing from most cities’ neighborhood patterns for the last 70 years. Middle housing can include duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, cottage clusters, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), courtyard apartments, and other similar housing.

A Eugene Duplex


A Eugene Triplex


A Eugene Quadplex


Why is it missing?

Middle housing is considered “missing” because relatively little of this housing has been built since the 1940s. Middle housing was common in neighborhoods in most communities prior to World War II. There are many local examples of middle housing in Eugene’s prewar neighborhoods. "Redlining” and other discriminatory lending practices were used to exclude non-white residents from many of these neighborhoods. Post-war prosperity and federal policies led to a building boom that ushered in an age of auto-dependent suburban development with large areas devoted to only single-family homes on large lots. Middle housing types were prohibited or significantly limited in single-family neighborhoods through zoning codes that categorized them as “multifamily housing”. Even today, a large percentage of Eugene’s neighborhoods do not allow most middle housing as an outright use. Meanwhile, in multifamily areas, developers generally build larger and denser housing such as apartment complexes. As a result, currently, most residents must choose between detached single-family homes or apartments.

For more information about House Bill 2001, check out the HB 2001 Fact Sheets or visit the project webpage.

We Want To Know What You Think!

Help guide the process by using the "Share your thoughts" tool below. You can also ask questions. Visit the "Project Updates" tool for up to date project happenings!

You will be asked to register or log in to your user account before providing your feedback. If you need some help with the registration process please read this guide

  • Draft Middle Housing Code Language is Live!

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    It’s an exciting time for the Middle Housing Implementation Project—we now have draft code language to share! Draft middle housing land use code language has been developed in response to the broad public input, as well as cycles of technical analysis and review with outreach groups and the Planning Commission. To be clear, this is not yet the public hearings process; however, it is an important step to hear from Planning Commission before we prepare an adoption package with refined code language and staff recommendations for Fall 2021. Continue reading for project updates, how we got here, next steps, and ways to get involved.

    The Draft Code Language

    The Draft Code language is being released in phases via the Planning Commission packets all month long. During the meetings, the project team will guide the Commission through the sections of draft code language in front of them, ask for questions and feedback, and keep track of comments to inform a final set of revisions to include in the draft adoption package. The dates and code sections/topics are as follows:

    • June 14th: Land Use Code definitions and residential zones
    • June 21st: Special & General Development Standards (includes new middle housing standards)
    • June 22nd: This meeting will be held only if needed
    • June 28th: Special Area Zones and Adjustment Review

    Next Steps

    The adoption process for land use code amendments includes a Planning Commission public hearing and recommendation, followed by a City Council public hearing and action. The adoption package is anticipated to be shared with the Commission and the public in early August, six weeks ahead of the Planning Commission public hearing, which is planned for late September. Links to full Planning Commission meeting packets and links to watch meetings live are available here.

    Get Involved

    The project’s Engage Eugene and web page are frequently updated with opportunities to engage community members and provide information about middle housing in Eugene. Additionally, community members are welcome to provide public comment via email or by speaking at a public meeting. If you have any questions about the project or how to be involved, contact Public Engagement Lead Sophie McGinley.

  • From the Consultants: Moving into the Code Writing Phase

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    Thanks to a grant from the Department of Land Conservation and Development, we were able to hire a consultant team to partner with to implement House Bill 2001. Now that we're moving into the "Code Writing" phase, we have an update from them, directly to you! Our first "From the Consultants" is below:

    "The City’s Consulting Team has been hard at work, coordinating closely with City staff, members of the Planning Commission, and participants in the City’s outreach processes to evaluate a variety of middle housing code issues and concepts and start to prepare potential changes to the City’s Development Code to implement middle housing legislation. We have completed the “Design and Code Concepts” phase of the project and are actively working on the “Code Writing” phase. We’re still evaluating and discussing different options, so the cake isn’t nearly baked yet. But we are getting closer to making and reviewing some preliminary recommendations.

    As we start to draft possible code changes, we are building on the concepts of whether to simply Allow middle housing, or whether to Encourage or Incentivize it. We’re also considering the City’s triple bottom line of sustainability, as well as a variety of other community values, goals, objectives, and policies. In doing so, we are relying on the substantial feedback provided by the City’s recent online survey, as well as meetings with Healthy Democracy, Equity Roundtable, Boards and Commissions/Local Partners RoundTable, and the Planning Commission. That feedback leaned heavily towards the Encourage and/or Incentivize options, although the feedback and approaches may vary, depending on what we’re looking at (e.g., building lot sizes vs. building heights vs. parking).

    We’re currently identifying recommendations related to specific things that the Code regulates, including standards related to the size of property on which a given type of housing can be built, how much onsite (or “off-street”) parking can be required, how far buildings must be “set back” from the edges of the property, and how much of a property can be covered by buildings or other impervious surfaces, among a variety of other issues.

    We’ll be presenting some initial findings and suggestions to the City’s Planning Commission at meetings on April 13 and 26, and then refining those recommendations for more discussion in May. The refinements will benefit from the outcome of outreach meetings and developer focus group meetings also happening in April, as well as feedback from other community members. We’re slated to provide a full set of more detailed recommendations in June. Soon after that, the Consultant’s work will be done but City staff will lead community members through additional review, discussion and refinements of our recommendations during the following several months.

    Thanks for taking the time to check out our update and to follow and participate in the Middle Housing Code Update process! We’ll continue to work closely with City staff and decision-makers to provide more updates as we move forward.

    All the best,

    Your Middle Housing Consulting Team

    Angelo Planning Group (Matt Hastie and Kate Rogers)

    ECONorthwest (Becky Hewitt and Tyler Bump)

    SERA Architects (Ben Weber, Emma-Quin Smith and Ross Determan)"

  • Recapping February Engagement--Report Now Available!

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    Thank you to the 741 community members who took the Middle Housing Survey! Preliminary survey results were shared at the March 9, 2021, Planning Commission work session and a full report of all February outreach is now available here. The report shares survey results, RoundTable summaries, and recaps events, meetings, and social media outreach. February was a busy month and there's even more outreach happening throughout April. Visit the key dates and project webpage for Planning Commission, RoundTable, Healthy Democracy, and other meeting dates--stay tuned!

  • Hearing From the Equity Roundtable

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    One of the groups formed to provide input on the Middle Housing code changes is the Equity Roundtable. At the March 9th, 2021 Planning Commission work session, Commissioners heard from Equity Roundtable participant Isis. Watch the video above to hear from Isis about her perspective and work on the roundtable.

  • Land Use & Housing Economics: what drives the cost of housing?

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    The last of our Facebook Live events took place on March 4th live on our Facebook and focused on the connections between land use and housing costs. We were joined by a panel of 2 local experts: Kaarin Knudsen, whose total involvement with land use is far too vast to list. Some of her current works range from teaching at the University of Oregon, principal & partner for LARCO / KNUDSON, and acting as a founding director/member of the steering committee for Better Housing Together. Our second guest speaker was Dylan Lamar, who currently acts as an Architect and Energy Consultant for Cultivate. He is also a member of numerous housing-related groups such as the GBIG and Passive Housing Designers and Consultants. It is available to watch on our Facebook and below.

  • A New Way to Engage: Meeting in a Box

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    A new tool we developed is a “Meeting in a Box”: a set of materials that helps folks guide their own meeting with a neighborhood association, community group, friends, and family to provide input on the Middle Housing project. The materials include a Discussion Guide, Middle Housing Walking Tours, and Feedback Forms. If you are interested in sharing these resources, we are accepting feedback until March 28th. Please share with your networks, friends, and family!

  • Land Use & the Climate

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    The third of our Facebook Live events took place on February 18th live on our Facebook(External link)(External link) and focused on the connections between land use and sustainability. We were joined by a panel of 3 local experts: local private-sector planner and City of Eugene Sustainability Commissioner Kelsey Zlevor, Environmental and Climate Justice Coordinator at the Eugene-Springfield NAACP Aimee Okotie-Oyekan, and City of Eugene Sustainability Manager Chelsea Clinton. It is available to watch on our Facebook and below.
    Throughout the rest of February, we will be having more live events that focus on housing and costs, as well as housing and the student perspective! Keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook (External link)(External link)and Instagram(External link)(External link) when exactly these will be taking place, and we hope to see you there!


  • Land Use & Equity: What are the Connections?

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    The second of our Facebook Live events took place on February 10th live on our Facebook(External link) and focused on the connections between land use and equity. We were joined by a panel of 2 local experts, University of Oregon Law Professor Dr. Sarah Adams-Schoen and City of Eugene Human Rights and Equity Analyst Fabio Andrade. It is available to watch on our Facebook and below.
    Throughout the rest of February, we will be having more live events that focus on housing and the environment, housing and costs, as well as housing and the student perspective! Keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook (External link)and Instagram(External link) when exactly these will be taking place, and we hope to see you there!


  • Where the Code Meets the Road: Land Use and Transportation

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    We are excited to announce and invite you to join us this February for a series of live virtual events that discuss what land use has to do with a variety of different topics. The first of these events took place on February 4th live on our Facebook and focused on the connections between land use and transportation. We were joined by a panel of 3 local experts, Reed Dunbar, AICP and Senior Transportation Planner for Eugene, Andrew Martin, Development Planner at Lane Transit District, and Shane Rhodes, Transportation Options Coordinator for Eugene. It is available to watch on our Facebook and below.
    Throughout the rest of February, we will be having more live events that focus on housing and equity, housing and the environment, housing and costs, as well as housing and the student perspective! Keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook and Instagram when exactly these will be taking place, and we hope to see you there!


  • State Requirements and Guiding Values and Principles from Outreach

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    The administrative rules implementing the requirements of House Bill 2001 (Middle Housing in Medium and Large Cities, Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 660, Division 46) establish, at minimum, code standards cities need to implement to comply with the requirements of House Bill 2001. The administrative rules were developed and refined over the course of a year by four groups of planning and development experts: the HB 2001 technical advisory committee, HB 2001 rulemaking advisory committee, Department of Land Conservation and Development staff, and were adopted at the December 9, 2020, Land Conservation and Development Commission meeting. The technical and rulemaking advisory committees included representatives from local jurisdictions, planners, developers, housing advocates, and others. Meeting packets and recordings and a full participant list are on DLCD’s Rulemaking web page.

    An introduction to the minimum standards was given to the Planning Commission at their January 12, 2021 meeting. Additionally, on January 12th, Planning Commission reviewed a set of Guiding Values and Principles from our Fall outreach to guide the outreach and implementation process moving forward. These Guiding Values and Principles were informed by our Equity Roundtable, Local Partner Roundtables, student outreach, and Healthy Democracy Panel.

    An in-depth presentation on the minimum standards and model code will be given at the upcoming February 1, 2021 Planning Commission Work Session.