Middle Housing Questions from the Southeast Neighbors Forum with Eben Fodor
held on March 1, 2018 at Good Samaritan.
Middle Housing (MH) is being proposed to essentially rezone existing single-family neighborhoods to allow duplexes, triplexes, multiplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters. Proponents advocate that this can be done in a manner that is compatible with single-family homes. Typically existing homes would be torn down or redeveloped into multiple one- and two-bedroom units. To help make these MH conversion “pencil out”, advocates typically recommend that current off-street parking requirements be waived.
Here are some questions to consider on the topic:
1. What about impacts to neighbors (loss of privacy, noise, solar shading, etc.)?
2. What about parking impacts and increased traffic?
3. What about loss of onsite open space, yards, gardens, play areas?
4. With loss of yards, won’t we need more parks and community gardens?
5. What sorts of additional infrastructure (like schools, roads, and parks) is needed to accommodate increased population density? (And how will this be planned/funded/provided?)
6. What about families with children who don’t fit into one and two-bedroom floor plans?
7. Do most of these units turn into rentals?
8. Is there evidence that these MH units will be more affordable to rent or own than existing housing?
9. Aren’t traditional apartment buildings more economical and affordable than MH.
10. How does MH address low-income housing needs?
11. How do you prevent loss of modestly-priced single-family homes to MH conversions?
12. What about peoples’ expectations to live in a single-family neighborhood?
13. Demand for single-family homes is strong. What hard evidence is there for MH demand?
14. If existing urban single-family neighborhoods are converted into MH, won’t this force those who want a single-family home to the urban fringes (sprawl)?
15. Isn’t the “secondary dwelling unit” (already allowed in cities statewide) a better way to meet demand in established neighborhoods?
16. We see lots of nice pictures, but what prevents MH from being hideously ugly and overcrowded?
17. In Eugene, we just completed our Comprehensive Plan last year and determined that there is enough land and housing capacity to meet projected needs through 2035. So why do we need to rezone single-family neighborhoods?