Next Portland is one of a number of media outlets that the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has invited to join a roundtable discussion about Portland’s Design Review process. The discussion is part of the Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) Project, which intends to “document and assess how the tools that carry out the (d) overlay affect the outcomes for discretionary and nondiscretionary reviews.”
The project is being led by Walker Macy, who are currently working on developing a consolidated list of issues to address. In order to help develop this list, Next Portland was invited to the discussion in order to “hear what you and your readers think about the process”.
The DOZA project comes in advance of a move to expand the number of sites with the (d) overlay is applied in Portland. Policy 3.42 of the recently approved 2035 Comprehensive Plan calls for an expanded use of Design Review:
Distinct identities. Maintain and enhance the distinct identities of the Inner Ring Districts and their corridors. Use and expand existing historic preservation and design review tools to accommodate growth in ways that identify and preserve historic resources and enhance the distinctive characteristics of the Inner Ring Districts, especially in areas experiencing significant development.
Most notably, areas of the city not currently subject to the Design Review, including inner Burnside, Belmont, Hawthorne and Division, would see the (d) overlay applied. These areas would likely be subject to a two-track Design Review process, similar to how Design Review works in Northwest (outside the Alphabet Historic District) and along Williams/Vancouver. Developers and architects would have the choice of applying for subjective Design Review, or meeting a set of prescriptive standards. The set of standards that are most commonly applied at present are the Community Design Standards. (See “The Language of Development in Portland” for further explanation). The DOZA project is only looking at Design Review, and will not address the Historic Resource Review process.
Next Portland will be participating in the discussion on Friday, and comments received on this post before Thursday evening will be considered for the discussion. Comments are welcome from readers who have direct experience with the process, and as well as those who have a more general interest in how the city grows. In the coming weeks BPS will also post a questionnaire, providing a more direct way to provide input.