Sellwood-Moreland Improv. League v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 04-02-2014
  • Case #: A155409
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Wollheim, P.J. for the Court; Lagesen, J.; and Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Unless the Plan District’s code expressly precludes density transfers between sites in multi-dwelling zones, the density transfer will be allowed to preserve development opportunities for new housing and to reduce development pressure on environmentally sensitive sites.

The Sellwood-Moorland Improvement League and several residents of the Sellwood-Moorland neighborhood (“residents”) appealed a design commission’s decision that approved a design review proposal from Bama Design and Moreland Station Apartments, LLC (“Moreland”). On review, the residents advanced two assignments of error: (1) The Land Use Board erred in determining which code was appropriate to govern the density transfer; and (2) because the density transfer would be governed by the alternate code, the planned-development review procedure and approval criteria was inapplicable. Moreland applied to build a 68-unit apartment, and because they were only allowed to develop 34 units Moreland requested a density transfer for an addition 34 residential units from an adjacent property. In general, the district’s regulations are applied and may apply additional requirements or allow exceptions to the general regulations. The JCB Plan District’s transfer of development rights provision details that the purpose for allowing density transfers is to preserve development opportunities for new housing and to reduce development pressure on environmentally sensitive sites. The Court held that according to the plain meaning of the wording the code does not expressly preclude density transfers between sites in multi-dwelling zones. Affirmed.

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