Oregon tweaks restrictive land use law to address housing shortage

Key Takeaways:

– Oregon lawmakers approved a $370 million housing package
– Bill aims to invigorate home construction in the state
– Revision of Oregon’s land use law passed in 1973
– Cities granted one-time exemption to acquire new land for housing developments
– 30% of new units in expansion zones must be affordable housing
– Rentals must remain affordable for at least 60 years
– Homes for sale must cater to those earning no more than 130% of median income
– Funds allocated for infrastructure projects, homeless shelters, and eviction prevention measures
– Los Angeles Mayor signed directive to greenlight 100% of affordable projects
– More than 16,000 affordable housing units approved in Los Angeles
– Housing gaining political momentum and is the target of a new funding package by President Joe Biden

HousingWire:

Oregon lawmakers last week approved a landmark $370 million housing package, The Associated Press reported. The vote followed an intense 35-day legislative session. 

Introduced by Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek, the bill aims to invigorate home construction in the state. Central to the bill is a revision of Oregon’s distinctive land use law that was passed in 1973. The law curbed urban sprawl to safeguard agricultural and forested areas.

The newly approved bill grants cities a one-time exemption from long-standing regulations to acquire new land for housing developments. In exchange, it requires that 30% of new units in expansion zones meet the definition of affordable housing. 

Rentals in these areas must remain affordable for at least 60 years to households earning 80% or less of the area’s median income, while homes for sale must cater to those earning no more than 130% of the median income.

Furthermore, the bill allows municipalities to exchange land both inside and outside their boundaries. The measure is designed to facilitate residential development on more suitable terrain outside city limits.

Beyond land use revisions, the comprehensive housing package allocates more than $370 million for infrastructure projects, such as water and sewer systems. Additionally, funds will be allocated toward homeless shelters and eviction prevention measures. 

Similar steps elsewhere

In December 2022, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed a directive requiring city departments involved in planning and decision-making to greenlight 100% of affordable projects, circumventing codes and regulations that are traditionally responsible for long delays and additional costs. 

As a result, Los Angeles now has more affordable housing units in the pipeline than in 2020, 2021 and 2022 combined. Since the order was issued, more than 16,000 affordable housing units have been approved without requiring any new funding, public subsidies or tax credits, according to a Bloomberg report.

Housing is gaining significant political momentum and is the target of a new funding package by President Joe Biden.

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Property Chomp’s Take:

Hey there, have you heard about the recent housing package approved by Oregon lawmakers? It’s a big deal! The $370 million package aims to boost home construction in the state, and it all started with Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek’s initiative.

One of the key points of the bill is a revision of Oregon’s land use law, which was put in place back in 1973 to prevent urban sprawl and protect agricultural and forested areas. The new bill gives cities a one-time exemption from certain regulations to acquire land for housing developments, with the condition that 30% of new units in expansion zones must be affordable housing.

Affordable rentals in these areas must remain affordable for at least 60 years for households earning 80% or less of the area’s median income, while homes for sale must cater to those earning no more than 130% of the median income. Additionally, the bill allows municipalities to exchange land both inside and outside their boundaries to facilitate residential development.

But it doesn’t stop there – the housing package also allocates over $370 million for infrastructure projects like water and sewer systems, as well as funds for homeless shelters and eviction prevention measures.

This move by Oregon lawmakers is part of a larger trend towards addressing the housing crisis in various cities. For example, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass recently signed a directive to streamline the approval process for affordable housing projects, resulting in a significant increase in affordable housing units in the pipeline.

And on a national level, President Joe Biden has outlined his own housing proposals to tackle the issue. It’s clear that housing is gaining momentum as a top priority in political agendas.

Overall, it’s encouraging to see lawmakers taking action to address the housing crisis and provide more affordable options for residents. Let’s hope these initiatives lead to positive change and better housing opportunities for all.

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