Friday, October 4, 2019

Oregon Bans Single Family Homes Zoning

The Oregon Legislature has passed Oregon HB 2001 which effectively eliminates the Single Family Home zoning in any city with more than 10,000 people. As is typical with government, this legislation is short sighted, politicized, and destructive to the well being of the citizens of Oregon. As is typical the heavy hand of government is wielded like a Thor's hammer to crush the souls of the oppressed.

As is equally predictable the supporters of the bill played the race card. There was a time when single family home zoning was used as a tool for segregation. That is a despicable and horrible practice. In the modern era however it has been used as a more practical tool to allow Americans to enjoy a suburban lifestyle. ALL Americans of ALL ethnic backgrounds enjoy the benefits from the SFH zoning. The very people proponents of this legislation claim to be helping are in fact never going to be able to participate in that suburban dream as the government has just crushed it in Oregon.

State and local governments that want to make duplexes and triplexes more widely available can do so through an incentive process rather than wielding their power like a megalomaniac and demanding every neighborhood become a duplex and triplex neighborhood.

Neighborhoods that were designed for a low traffic, low density development will now be subject to increased densities and traffic. People that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on homes in quiet SFH neighborhoods will likely see their property values decrease as multi-family conversions increase density and traffic.

Let's be clear what the zoning is designed to do. Zoning is designed primarily to keep neighborhoods conforming to a specific use. This applies to residential, commercial, industrial, and specialty uses. It is zoning that makes it difficult or impossible for a company to erect an oil refinery in your residential neighborhood. Single Family Home zoning is designed to keep high density projects out of the neighborhood. Oregon's HB 2001 will not have an effect on industrial, commercial or special use neighborhoods, but it will allow for higher densities in neighborhoods that were intended and built for low density use. In cities like Beaverton, Portland, and Gresham it is unlikely that the local governments will make the needed improvements to roadways and other infrastructure to support the coming density increases. I say this because I have observed a lack of infrastructure improvements in those areas under current zoning.

I hope I am wrong about this, I hope Oregon has a plan to make this work. My 55 years on this Earth has taught me many things, among them is that Government rarely gets it right the first time, and often never gets it right at all.

Hopefully the more moderate state legislature here in Washington will take a wait and see approach. I think we are well advised to let Oregon burn to ground before lighting ourselves on fire.

Clark County will likely see a mass influx of new residents as Oregonians now have yet another reason to leave Oregon, AKA California Norte.

I have no issue with duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods. I believe that Vancouver Washington has been working diligently to make suburban multi-family projects viable. What might be a better approach would be a massive overhaul of the HOA system. Making European style flats available for sale would require a comprehensive overhaul of the HOA rules and authority. This would be much better than destroying the American dream for EVERYONE in the name of a few.

OK enough of my rant on the abuse of government. Clark County, Washington just got a massive bump in its stock value in housing. Over the next few years as Oregon's suburban neighborhoods collapse into chaos, Oregonians will seek refuge in nearby Clark County. This may have an effect on our housing that is positive for current homeowners but negative for future first time home buyers. Buyers should be aware that this Oregon Legislation that is expected to be signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, will in all likelihood lead to increased price pressure on our local market.

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