At last night's city council work session, we discussed Troutdale's residential density and housing capacity. It was a statistics-filled but ultimately depressing meeting.
Our residents have been complaining loudly about new high density residential construction. Unfortunately, at the city level there isn't much we can do about it.
According to Oregon Administrative Rules, Troutdale must provide "the opportunity for at least 50 percent of new residential units to be attached single family housing or multiple family housing or justify an alternative percentage based on changing circumstances." OAR 660-007-0030
In addition to the 50% attached single family housing (rowhouses) or multiple family housing (apartments) requirement, Troutdale "must provide for an overall average density of eight or more dwelling units per net buildable acre." OAR 660-007-0035
This works out to an average of about 5300 square feet per lot.
At last night's work session, we agreed that the problem we're dealing with is density in general, and not with the amount or specific location of higher density zoning. So how do we solve this problem of density in general? Do we amend portions of the Troutdale Development Code? Or do we amend the zoning map and comprehensive plan to decrease the amount of higher density zoned land? How can we solve our density problem and still meet state mandated density requirements?
We came up with few answers, more questions, and much resentment toward Oregon's current land use system.
As of June 30, 2006, here's our existing housing stock by type:
Single-family detached (including manufactured home on platted lots): 66.2%
Multi-family (4 or more units on the same lot): 20.0%
Manufactured home in MH parks and RV parks: 6.7%
Duplexes and triplexes on single lot: 5.3%
Platted Rowhouses: 1.6%
Mixed use (Residential with commercial): 0.2%
Here's our current future housing mix opportunity for residential zones based on Troutdale's buildable land inventory:
Detached Single Family Dwellings 47.1%
Attached and Multi-Family Dwellings 52.9%
It's not a pretty picture. But if there's anything I can lawfully do as a city councilor to decrease Troutdale's density for new construction, I'm going to do it.