What Does it All Mean?
Understanding Residential Infill in Jefferson Westside
Here is a short breakdown of what infill development is, what it means for Jefferson Westside Neighborhood (JWN) residents, and how infill compatibility standards are being utilized to allow infill development without destroying the character of JWN.
Infill development is defined by the City of Eugene as “new residential development in established areas of the city.” Infill compatibility standards are defined by the city of Eugene as “tools that can regulate the amount, form, and appearance of new residential development in established areas.” The reason residential infill is such an important topic right now is due to the Growth Management Policies adopted by the City of Eugene. The Growth Management Policies direct the city to “encourage infill development and increase housing density while maintaining the the character and livability of individual neighborhoods.”
The problem with that goal is that infill in most neighborhoods is regulated by base zone standards which apply to the entire city, and often don’t take into account the key characteristics of individual neighborhoods. The answer to this issue for JWN is the creation of a Special Area Zone, which has zoning standards created specifically for the area with input from residents, planners, and the Jefferson Westide Neighbors Neighborhood Association.
During the time that most of the development took place in JWN the area was zoned R-2, and R-2 meant “two family” zone. Under this zoning single family homes, duplexes, and small accessory dwelling units were allowed. It is during this time period that the defining characteristics of Jefferson Westside came to be. In 1998, long after the defining character of Jefferson Westside had been established, drastic code changes were made which tripled the amount of dwellings allowed on R-2 lots. This code change led to incompatible infill in the JWN. The Special Area Zone created in JWN allows for more specific zoning code to be created, so that other parts of the city can operate under the high density R-2 zone while allowing JWN to adopt infill standards that are more compatible with the neighborhood’s character. Be sure to tune in next week for the second installment of Understanding Residential Infill in Jefferson Westside.