October 4, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Councilor Keating: Oregon prohibits rent control on middle housing

6 min read

Councilor Matt Keating: State law prohibits the city from imposing any rent control requirements on middle housing.

[00:00:05] John Q: That’s Eugene City Councilor Matt Keating giving his monthly report to Southeast Neighbors. At the April board meeting, co-chair Devon Mann.

[00:00:14] SEN Board Co-chair Devon Mann: Do you want to just go now, Matt, since you only have a few minutes,

[00:00:17] Councilor Matt Keating: I’m happy to, is there a way to stop the recording for our conversation? So I can just have a frank—

[00:00:23] Zoom voice: Recording stopped.

[00:00:24] Councilor Matt Keating: Thank you. That worked!

[00:00:26] I appreciate that. I just want to have an open, honest dialogue with you all, and I really appreciate the advocacy and the positive tone by which you’ve communicated your concepts and heartburn and consternation.

[00:00:39] And whether it be your enthusiasm or your hesitation to support elements that are coming out of the planning commission recommendations, whether we look at the state model code or just adopt the state minimum standards in regards to HB 2001, I know it’s a difficult issue and we all have strong thoughts and feelings on it, but I just want to just really give you a heartfelt thank you for your input.

[00:01:02] It’s helped shape my thinking in regards to one element in particular that I’m going to be proposing, the need to advance electrification at our domiciles to get us off of fossil fuels. We need to be encouraging folks to be able to plug in at home.

[00:01:19] And I’m still open to other surgical fixes, if you will, in regards to the Planning Commission’s recommendations. it’s not a binary. It is not a, just do nothing and adopt the state minimum standards or adopt all the planning commission recommendations. As I’ve mentioned to a good many of you privately, there is a middle ground there, and there are elements of the recommendation that we can take, elements that we can tweak, and elements that we can park.

[00:01:45] And so I wanted to start the conversation with that and let you know, I hear you. I thank you. And I’m happy to to continue to take your feedback and your questions,

[00:01:56] SEN Board member David Monk: Thank you, Matt. Hey, I’d hope you’d also look at the definition of plexes as attached or detached and recognize that when you detach a fourplex and you build four independent buildings, you’re building single family housing on smaller lots, and they’re going to be as big as they can be 2000 square feet, and they’re going to be as expensive as they can be.

[00:02:20] So your Planning Commission’s proposal is leaving it to the development community to provide us housing. And we all know we need affordable housing for a subset of our population that this will not assist at all. In fact, it may harm them. So please give a look at that piece attached unattached or detached that definition . That’s hugely problematic for me. Thanks.

[00:02:44] Councilor Matt Keating: Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you. And meeting with you and a handful of neighbors not so long ago, it was wholly valuable. I really appreciate that too, David. Thank you.

[00:02:55] SEN Board Member Emily Fox: I just like to say again, that I think, it’s important, very important also to take in climate change. And I think that, reduce lot size from 75% back down to 50 is good because we need shade trees in our city to reduce the temperature. We also need gardens. There could become a time with some disaster happens where people need to grow food. If everything’s pavement, this can’t happen. And, so I would ask you to take into consideration these facts. Thanks.

[00:03:36] Councilor Matt Keating: Thank you, Emily. I appreciate your consistency and clarity by what you continue to champion the green spaces. And I think the place where you and I really see eye to eye is more clarification and clear communication in regards to the tree canopy. So I hear you and I thank you, Ella.

[00:03:54] SEN Board Member Ela Kubok: I’m curious Matt if there has been more discussion or if maybe someone is bringing this on the April 18th session, but in regards to some form of income requirements for some of the larger housing that might be put forward. Has there been any more discussion around, not necessarily inclusionary zoning, but if someone’s building continuously six- plexes or fourplexes, will there be any way to reserve those for people with specific income levels in our community? Has there been any discussion to that?

[00:04:29] Councilor Matt Keating: To my understanding, state law prohibits the City from imposing any rent control requirements on middle housing, Does that get to the heart of your question?

[00:04:37] SEN Board Member Ela Kubok: Yes. And I’m just curious, I know that other cities have done that, not necessarily in Oregon, mostly on the East Coast. So is there any effort to think about, could we ask the state to change that since the state is asking us to change our code, or has there been any anyone interested in that?

[00:04:57] Councilor Matt Keating: That’s a great question. It’s one that I will pose to the Lane County delegation. Thank you. And let’s work offline to really kind of nail that so I get that, not just at the heart of it, but I want to very clearly express your inquiry to our state delegation. Thank you.

[00:05:11] So that’s housing in a nutshell, you can see why I wanted to go offline. I wanted to just have a really frank and brief conversation with you all about my intent and just to let you know, we don’t always have to agree, but I hear you. And I hear some of the concerns that have been expressed and at least to me, at least within our South Eugene Ward Two boundaries, you all have been so wholly respectful.

[00:05:33] And I wanted just from the bottom of my heart and say, thank you for that, that I think we’re a model of positive communication with each other, whether we agree entirely with each other or not. So thank you. And it’s 7:16. I had to leave a minute ago. So you can start your recording again.

[00:05:50] Zoom voice: Recording in progress.

[00:05:51] Councilor Matt Keating: I didn’t want my entire report to be about housing, but there we are. Thanks for having me tonight, folks. And of course you can always just call me, text me, or shoot me an email and light me up in all three ways if I’m not being responsive, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

[00:06:06] John Q: City Councilor Matt Keating has an open discussion with the Southeast Neighbors board: David Monk shares how developers see detachable structures and lot splitting. Emily Fox speaks out about losing more tree canopy. And Ela Kubok underlines one important point.

[00:06:22] Councilor Matt Keating: State law prohibits the city from imposing any rent control requirements on middle housing,

Editor’s Note: The Southeast Neighbors Communications Committee followed up with Councilor Keating on April 19 and April 20 to ask why he wanted to stop the recording of the public meeting, what he heard from the Lane County delegation, and the status of his proposed changes relating to off-street parking. Councilor Keating has not responded.

Contact: johnq@publicnewspapers.org, ‪(541) 632-3692‬

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