On April 20th, Portland’s Bureau of Development Services formally enacted regulations requiring all residential building demolition permit applications to carry mandatory 35-day delays before a permit would be issued with a potential 60-day delay should there be an appeal. In addition, the City began notifying all owners of property within 150 feet of the requested demolition by mail in addition to letting recognized organizations know about the application.
The new Major Residential Alteration and Addition building permit category created by BDS also requires property owners to e-mail recognized organizations within whose boundaries a demolition site lies, to post door hangers on abutting homes, submit to BDS a new neighborhood notification form and new forms for certification of asbestos and lead-based paint prior to a permit being issued.
“Council’s adoption of the Demolition Task Force recommendations was the outcome of an inclusive and thoughtful process that engaged stakeholders from the community and the construction industry,” stated Amanda Fritz, commissioner in charge of BDS. “I thank the community and industry volunteers, and the BDS and City staff, who were on the Task Force.” BDS Director Paul L. Scarlett added, “The new requirements provide increased notification to neighbors, while maintaining predictability in the permitting process for permit applicants and construction contractors.
Beaumont Wilshire Neighborhood Association Immediate Past President Al Ellis chairs the city-wide group, United Neighborhoods for Reform. Ellis had mixed reaction to the regulations implemented in April: “UNR got everything it wanted except for a 120-day additional delay provision, which ended up as 60 days—up from no additional delay days at all in the initial proposal,” Ellis said, “Neither side was totally satisfied with the end result, but that’s the nature of compromise.” Ellis added that UNR will continue to stay engaged in advocating for additional reforms.
The new regulations stemmed from City Council action during the summer of 2014 when commissioners directed the Bureau of Development Services to convene a Demolition Task Force to address concerns about City Code regulation of one- and two-family home razings. Dubbed the Demolition Task Force, the panel included members from the Bureau’s Development Review Advisory Committee, Historic Landmarks Commission, Design Review Commission, city staff, members of various neighborhood associations and other interested citizens.
To bring all parties up to speed on the new regulations, BDS will host a one-hour information session on these code changes and processes Friday, May 8 at noon, on the second floor of 1900 S.W. 4th Ave., Room 2500A. More information can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/bds.