City closes lot splitting loophole in Portland

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, April 7, 2014. (KOIN 6)
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, April 7, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — After people in numerous Portland neighborhoods took a stand against lot splitting, the city closed a loophole and now requires developers to notify neighbors about their plans.

Neighbors in Eastmoreland were one of the first in the area to fight back against a plan to demolish a home and build two homes on the property, reaching an agreement with the developer to buy the home back.

However, those residents said they wanted to make sure all neighborhoods have an opportunity to fight back, and the city listened.

Three weeks ago, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said he was willing to take a look at the rules that governed a process known as lot splitting in which a developer buys a lot, knocks down the home on the property and replaces it with two or more homes.

The city agreed a loophole that did not require developers to notify neighbors of their plans was an issue and closed it.

Now, any time a developer asks for a demolition permit and a permit to replace one home with two, neighbors must be notified.

“I agree totally because I’ve watched it happen, and it’s just ruining a lot of property values and forcing people out of the city really, you know? To get out because of the cost of everything, you know?” said Sam Andrew, who lives in SE Portland.

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