Residents question city’s ‘lot splitting’ practice

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents in Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood argued their input is being overlooked in regard to rules that allow developers to divide properties.

A practice known as lot splitting allows developers to divide some Portland properties into two or more without the consent of neighbors living next door.

Residents living in Eastmoreland want to know why they don’t have more input before the city signs on a request to split a property.

“My biggest complaint is that the city had made their determination, in our opinion, of what they were going to do before the even had the hearing,” said Jeff Bowman, a concerned neighbor.

The concerns in Eastmoreland are over a zone change that will allow a developer to tear down a home and put two in its place.

“The zoning code spells out what the process is. It’s very prescriptive as far as timelines and procedures,” said Rebecca Esau with the Bureau of Development Services.

According to the zone code, after a developer turns in their application, they must post a notice at the sight as to the date of the public hearing and mail notices to all property owners within 400-feet of the property in question.

However, before the public hearing takes place, the city staff gives a recommendation to the hearings officer.

Because of this recommendation, neighbors say the system is not impartial, calling it a sham and demanding a change. Esau argued against those complaints.

“I would say the city did not have their mind made up. Until we go through the process and get all the comments from the infrastructure bureaus and review the proposal, we don’t have a decision yet,” said Esau.

The city council will hear the Eastmoreland neighbors’ appeal on Thursday at 2 p.m.

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