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Eugene City Council weighs the benefit and downside of neighborhood density

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On the schedule for Wednesday’s City Council work meeting was an issue near and dear to many Eugene property owners; especially those living in the South University neighborhood.

Envision Eugene” has raised its controversial head once again. And is being staged for ‘“implementation” as the Council weighs the benefit of greater neighborhood density, against the downside of inner city squalor and subsequent mayhem.

According to City Council minutes,potentially thousands of Eugene property owners will be impacted by this pending motion; yet only 9 have expressed support or condemnation as to the implementation of CB 5110.

While the terms mayhem and squalor may ride the rails of sensationalism, for residents that live in neighborhoods targeted for evaluation and subsequent inclusion in the Council’s ‘ ground zero,’ the issue is a heated one.

Most living in Eugene, Ore. know of a family member, friend or neighbor that has been sighted by the City’s code compliance Cop for building without a permit; constructing an accessory building on, or too close to a utility easement or right-of -way. With real estate in the city limited to a 150 year old city grid, there is a movement downtown dedicated to the greatest utilization of available building lots.

According to the Eugene planning department: While the city does allow secondary units on most city lots, the height and placement of the “out building” as well as its designated use comes under scrutiny as applied to current building codes, low density R-1 zoning constraints and the City’s future “ Envision Eugene” implementation.

In other words, that neighbor with the 13 foot greenhouse in his backyard will be red tagged by the city. So will the homeowner that opts to fill one or more detached outbuildings with U of O students. In looking through document CB 5110, one discovers a mandate presented through council that will allow the creation of 100+ residential lots, via existing lot split and alley access.

The balance of the legislation addresses the issue of neighborhood ( building design) uniformity, structure and fence height.

The City Council puts it this way: City Council President: "I move to adopt Council Bill 5110 the ordinance contained in Attachment C, with the specific modifications contained in Exhibit 1 to Attachment B."

On a personal note: While much of the Amazon, Pearl and South University is being transitioned into a not too future high density University Of Oregon influenced student apartment ghetto, many long term residential one ( R-1) property owners look to the city council for some “order” as to reasonable uniformity of zoning and building code enforcement.

As noted by City Council minutes, no more than 9 concerned citizens spoke before the Council on this pending vote. As with so many measures of long term impact, the Council is left to weigh the issue without the thoughtful input of those citizens impacted by the pending regulatory legislation. City Council meetings are open to the public. You may view the schedule here.

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