January 13, 2023

River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan:

Adoption Phase Update

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Adoption Phase Update

Launched in fall 2017, the neighborhood planning process has been a collaborative effort among community members, River Road Community Organization (RRCO), Santa Clara Community Organization (SCCO), City of Eugene, Lane County, and other stakeholders throughout both neighborhoods.

The process has included six phases and the development of:

Given a myriad of challenges and changes over the last few years, including a global pandemic, state mandates, staff changes, and resource constraints, City staff recently developed a proposal to adjust the path for landing the project which:

  • Builds on broad agreement in the community and the extensive engagement, collaboration, and community volunteer hours dedicated to this planning effort over five years
  • Shifts the approach and timing of the corridor code component to recognize current project and neighborhood realities, including statewide climate, housing, and equity mandates
  • Offers a responsive and responsible path to advance the neighborhood vision given limited City resources

City staff presented the proposed path forward at a recent community meeting with Community Advisory Committee members and RCCO and SCCO board leadership. Project staff are using feedback from that gathering to refine and clarify the proposed path, as well as help guide public participation in the adoption phase of the project.

Proposed Path Forward

The staff proposed path is to move into the adoption phase, which includes:

  • Neighborhood Plan Adoption: The planning process created a vision for growth and development in a manner that respects the area’s unique characteristics and opportunities, which will guide decision-making in RRSC for decades to come. Adoption by the Eugene City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners will repeal and replace the 1987 RRSC Urban Facilities Plan. The plan document includes vision statements, goals, and policies.
  • Action Plan Approval: The non-regulatory Action Plan captures opportunities to implement the Neighborhood Plan through a catalogue of community-identified actions. The Eugene City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners may approve the Action Plan as a guide to further prioritize and implement actions over time.
  • Corridor Code Integration: Strive to incorporate RRSC Corridor and Greenway goals identified during neighborhood planning as a part of current and future city-wide code amendments. Consider minor additions to the plan adoption process that will benefit the neighborhoods while waiting for city-wide corridor code and zoning to be put in place.

Opportunities for Implementation and Engagement

Opportunities for Implementation: City-wide Code Amendments

The RRSC neighborhood plan vision, policies, and actions will be implemented over many years through a variety of City, County, community, and other agency programs and projects. Several current and upcoming City efforts offer immediate and relevant opportunities for implementation:

  •  Willamette River Greenway Code Amendments: Eugene is in the process of establishing clear and objective standards for housing development within the Willamette River Greenway. The Greenway Code Amendments will be presented to the Eugene City Council for adoption in 2023.
  • City-wide Corridor Code: Eugene will complete its next Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) update by the end of 2026. This growth management planning work will include citywide review and revisions of zoning, land use code standards, and development incentives for key corridors, including River Road.
  • Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC): Eugene is beginning a multi-year effort to advance City climate action, housing production, and transportation goals through a state-directed program. Between 2023 and 2026, the City will update Eugene’s long-range plans and land use code based on both state requirements and public engagement.

Opportunities for Engagement: Willamette River Greenway Code Amendments

During the neighborhood planning process, staff heard that Greenway protections are a priority for the neighborhood. Staff are committed to keeping you updated about the ongoing citywide Willamette River Greenway Code Amendment process. This is an iterative process and feedback from the River Road Community Organization on the initial proposal resulted in significant changes to the proposed code, which included the addition of tree preservation standards, reduction of building façade length near the river, and ensuring trees and plants are a native species when located near the river. The code amendments are currently under review and consideration by the Eugene Planning Commission, who will hold deliberations on the proposed code amendments at their next meeting on January 24 at 5:30pm. The most recent project materials and webcast of the January 10 public hearing are available on the City’s land use code amendment website.

Community members can add their voices and perspectives to this process by providing testimony. Public input can continue to influence the version of the code that the Planning Commission ultimately recommends to City Council. The Planning Commission will continue to receive testimony for their review and consideration until 5pm on January 20, 2023. Following a recommendation from the Planning Commission, the City Council will then begin their part of the public process, which includes another public hearing and consideration of all testimony received before adopting final code amendments. Submit your written public testimony to greenwaytestimony@eugene-or.gov or mail comments to: c/o Jeff Gepper, Senior Planner, 99 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401. 

Next Steps for the Neighborhood Plan

City staff are working with community leadership to refine the details of the proposed path forward and complete an outreach strategy for the Adoption Phase of neighborhood planning that is both responsive and responsible, given current resource availability.

Stay tuned for more updates on RRSC neighborhood plan adoption and opportunities for implementing the vision and goals voiced by the community through this extensive effort!

For questions or concerns, please contact the RRSC Neighborhood Plan project manager: Terri Harding, Principal Planner, THarding@eugene-or.gov

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