October 7, 2022

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Mayor Vinis casts 2 tie-breaker votes in Council’s May 11 middle housing session

4 min read

During a work session May 11, Eugene’s City Council discussed broad changes to the middle housing code amendments. Here’s a quick summary of their seven key votes.

To replace the Planning Commission’s recommendations with the bare minimum needed to comply with HB 2001, Councilor Emily Semple.

[00:00:18] Councilor Emily Semple: One, make the ordinance consistent with the state minimum standards, two, maximum lot coverage 50% and three revise any other standards that go beyond the requirements of the minimum standards.

[00:00:32] Mayor Lucy Vinis: All in favor of the motion, please raise your hands: One, two, three, four.  All opposed: One, two, three, four, and I oppose.

[00:00:44] Councilor Mike Clark: First! Your first one, right?

[00:00:46] John Q: Councilor Alan Zelenka asked for the roll call vote.

[00:00:49] Councilor Alan Zelenka: Mayor, can you tell me who voted which way?

[00:00:52] Mayor Lucy Vinis: Yes: Greg, Emily, Randy, and Mike voted in favor, Jennifer, Matt, Claire, and you, including me, voted against it.

[00:01:03] Councilor Alan Zelenka: Thank you.

[00:01:04] John Q: With the mayor casting her first tie-breaking vote to save the Planning Commission recommendations, the Council moved on to consider targeted changes.

[00:01:14] Councilor Alan Zelenka: So we’re going to parking, building height, maximum coverage, short-term rentals, and then work sessions.

[00:01:20] John Q: He brought up three separate votes on parking incentives. The first was proximity to transit. Builders won’t have to provide off-street parking when the lot is within a quarter mile of the EmX. (See our detailed explanation of Councilor Keating’s proposal here.)

[00:01:32] Mayor Lucy Vinis: So all in favor of this motion, please raise your hands: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Opposed? One opposed. Okay.

[00:01:41] John Q: The Planning Commission recommended letting small home builders use more of the lot for housing, waiving the requirement for off-street parking. The Council voted to reject that proposal.

[00:01:52] Mayor Lucy Vinis: We’re voting on Alan’s next motion about eliminating the parking exemption for small, smaller units. All in favor, please raise your hands. One more time. One, two, three, four, five. Oppose: One, two, three. So that passes. Okay. Thank you. And Alan, next one.

[00:02:13] John Q: The Council considered whether to remove the parking exemption for income-qualified housing.

[00:02:18] Mayor Lucy Vinis: All in favor of this motion to delete reduced parking for income-qualified housing, please raise your hands: One, two, three, four. All opposed: One, two, three, four, five. I oppose it. All right. Thank you.

[00:02:35] John Q: The mayor’s second tie-breaking vote preserved the parking exemption for income-qualified homes.

[00:02:40] With two of three parking incentives removed, the Council took up building height.

[00:02:47] Councilor Alan Zelenka: The Planning Commission recommendation for duplex, triplex, fourplex, and row houses that they have 35 feet. And this would move it back down to where we are today, which is also the minimum standard.

[00:03:00] Mayor Lucy Vinis: All right. We have a motion on the table about building height. All in favor of the motion, please raise your hands. One, two, three, four, five, six. Opposed: Two. All right, so that passes.

[00:03:14] John Q: How much of the lot can be taken up by the building?

[00:03:18] Mayor Lucy Vinis: All in favor of reducing the lot size from 75 percent to 50 percent maximum coverage, please raise your hands. Opposed: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Well, there we go.

[00:03:31] John Q: The seventh vote was whether to limit the use of short-term rentals.

[00:03:37] Councilor Alan Zelenka: To add the following special-use limitation: For townhouses, middle housing located on middle housing lot may not be used to short term rentals and no more than one of the dwelling units in a duplex, triplex, fourplex, or cottage cluster may be used as a short-term rental.

[00:03:52] John Q: Most councilors said they would oppose the amendment to allow more discussion.

[00:03:57] Mayor Lucy Vinis: So all in favor of this motion around short-term rentals, please raise your hands: One, two. Oppose: One, two, three, four, five. And six.

[00:04:08] John Q: After seven key votes, the council voted to discuss solar access and tree preservation in a separate work session.

[00:04:16] Councilor Alan Zelenka: Move to have City Council look at, in a work session, the solar access ordinance and tree preservation ordinance, including planting new trees and tree canopy potential.

[00:04:26] John Q: Mayor Vinis saves Staff and Planning Commission recommendations with two tie-breaking votes, and the Council responds to citizen concerns about building height and off-street parking.

[00:04:37] The next work session is May 18.

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