April Land Use & Transportation Committee Meeting

Calling all Sunnyside homeowners, renters, business owners – come get involved in the design of new buildings along Hawthorne and Belmont by participating in this Monday’s meeting at 7:30pm in the Southeast Uplift Building (3534 SE Main St).

Advocacy at the neighborhood level and directly at City meetings can be focused on design standards that push for building façade surfaces with depth and other architectural features to avoid “box-like” buildings occupying almost an entire site.

At this Monday’s meeting, a City rep will be discussing a design overlay opportunity along Hawthorne and Belmont. Hope to see you there!

March Land Use and Transportation Committee

The City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update involves changes to the location and type of residential and commercial uses in our neighborhood, especially along Belmont Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. Following Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) land use and transportation committee meetings, Board meetings, and a recent general meeting attended by a packed room of neighborhood residents, the SNA Board passed Resolutions in January and February to inform the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update.

Come hear about proposed Comprehensive Plan Map designations to go to the the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association Board this Thursday March 12th by attending the Sunnyside Land Use & Transportation Committee meeting on Monday March 9th at 7:30 pm in the SE Uplift building (3534 SE Main St).

January Land Use & Transportation Committee Meeting

The City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update nearing completion involves changes to the location and type of residential and commercial uses in our neighborhood, especially along Belmont Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.  Following Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) land use and transportation committee meetings, Board meetings, and a recent general meeting attended by a packed room of neighborhood residents, the SNA Board passed Resolutions to inform the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update.

Come hear about these Resolutions forwarded to the City at a Sunnyside Land Use & Transportation Committee meeting on Monday January 12th at 7:30 pm in the SE Uplift building (3534 SE Main St).

SNA LUTC Proposed Comprehensive Plan Resolutions: A Primer

If you’re new to discussions about the Comprehensive Plan and you have read over the SNA’s proposed comments, you might have some questions.   Feel free to ask them, of course, but here we will break them down a bit for you and answer what we think will be some common questions.  Let’s start with the first three:

  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) Board urges the City to develop community design guidelines for southeast Portland, direct corridor development applications through the Portland Design Commission or southeast Portland community design guidelines, and provide neighborhood notification.
  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to increase inner southeast open spaces areas, including pocket parks and a community center.
  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to increase pedestrian crossing improvements across Belmont and Hawthorne, and along Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

It’s expected that the Belmont, Hawthorne, and Division areas will grow another 800-2000 households combined over the next 20 years.  These three resolutions ask that the city help develop design guidelines and plans to grow these inner southeast corridors in a well planned fashion and with neighborhood input.  We want the city to create more open spaces for our residents to recreate and relax, and we want the city to make it safer to get across our busy streets on foot. Now for the next two:

  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to immediately update the Historic Resource Inventory and apply historic preservation tools to the commercial section of Belmont between SE 33rd and 35th.
  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to immediately update the Historic Resource Inventory and apply historic preservation tools to the residential section of Belmont between SE 35th and 37th.

We love “downtown Belmont Street” and we know many of our neighbors do too.  We are asking the city to protect the character and potentially historic buildings along this core of Belmont.  Buildings added to the Historic Resource Inventory gain some protections from demolition and redevelopment.  The city may also provide incentives to landowners to protect structures or maintain historic elements during redevelopment. The next two:

  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to only allow building height bonuses if developers provide the community benefit of below market-rate housing units.
  • To accompany new residences along the corridors, the SNA Board urges the City to develop tools to encourage the building of family friendly units

In the new mixed-use zoning being proposed along our corridors, developers could build three stories by right, but to build an additional one or two stories they would need to provide community benefits. Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff is exploring whether community benefits would be affordable housing, historic preservation, green building features, open and public spaces, etc.  We are concerned about the reduction in affordable housing as redevelopment occurs and would like to see the city push for below market-rate units with more vigor.  We also see value in a mix of housing types, multi-room units for families should be incentivized. And now onto the technical details:

  • The SNA Board urges the City to apply a Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along Belmont and the north side of Hawthorne between SE 28th & 49th to support local businesses thereby increasing employment and the dollars to remain in our neighborhood.

There are gaps in the commercial fabric along Belmont St. and on the western edge of Hawthorne Blvd. within our neighborhood. Changing the multi-family residential zoning to mixed use commercial zoning makes it more likely that we will develop vibrant commercial corridors. Since the new mixed-use zone requires a residential component, we would still be adding housing along with more jobs and room for businesses.

  • The SNA Board urges the City to apply a Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along the north side of Hawthorne between SE 28th & 49th with implementing zone maximum height of 5-stories and fourth and fifth floors recessed so as not to create more than a 3-story wall along the street.

The city has proposed two types of mixed-use zones to implement their proposed Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along Belmont St. and Hawthorne Blvd. The type 1 mixed use zone is being proposed to allow for smaller developments, 2 stories with the potential for a 3rd story bonus.  The type 2 mixed use zone is being proposed to allow 3 stories with, potentially, a 4th or 5th story bonus.  Under the proposed mixed use zoning for these two corridors, buildings will be required to have a setback on the 4th and 5th floors, giving them the primary appearance of a 3 story building from both sidewalk level and the rear of building. We see value in new development along Hawthorne Blvd. being 3 stories, with the potential for a setback 4th or 5th story bonus, to activate this “main street” of southeast Portland with additional housing and room for businesses.

  • The SNA Board urges the City to apply a Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along Belmont between SE 28th & 33rd with implementing zone maximum height of 4-stories and the fourth floor recessed so as not to create more than a 3-story wall along the street.
  • The SNA Board urges the City to apply a Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along Belmont between SE 37th & 42nd with implementing zone maximum height of 4-stories and the fourth floor recessed so as not to create more than a 3-story wall along the street.
  • The SNA Board urges the City to apply a Comprehensive Plan mixed-use designation along Belmont between SE 42nd & 49th with implementing zone maximum height of 4-stories and the fourth floor recessed so as not to create more than a 3-story wall along the street.

Belmont St. is more narrow than Hawthorne Blvd. and designated a neighborhood corridor rather than a civic corridor. In light of this, the SNA is proposing the Mixed Use Zoning workgroup consider limiting Belmont St. to 3 stories by right and up to 4 stories with a bonus, eliminating the 5th story bonus.