Saturday, July 4, 2020

50 IDEAS For Cheaper Housing are listed after these basic suggestions:

Recognize the human right of every human being to space somewhere, i.e. land. This is inherent in having a physical body and the right to life.

Recognize the right of lower income people to build or occupy whatever shelter they can afford, consistent with public health and safety.

Reject the idea that governments have any duty to existing homeowners to protect the sales value of their property, since every increase results in an exactly equal increase in cost to some other citizen, i.e., buyers, renters and displaced people.

Reject the idea that governments have a duty to protect the "livability" of neighborhoods for one class of citizen, to such a degree that it makes housing unaffordable to another class of citizen.

Abolish the role of Neighborhood Associations in land use planning, since their overwhelming consensus will always be the self interest of existing property owners.

Abolish code and policy based on percentages of AMI ("Area Median Income" published by Census Bureau) which results in excessively wide bracketing aggregating the destitute with lower middle class incomes to justify "affordable" workforce housing). Replace it by deciles of income. Establish guidance and policy of City and County to break down the population into tenths (deciles) of income, in order to apply public resources to the bottom deciles first. Recognize the displacement and homelessness of the bottom 20% as higher priority of governments than the "affordability" of housing for middle class people complaining about their rents, or businesses needs for cheap working class housing.

Reject "Trickle down" housing theory, that building more middle income housing at $250,000 will result in more housing affordable by the bottom 20%.


Allow home owners to partition single-family lots.

Reduce the minimum lot size to 1000 square feet, sufficient for Tiny Houses. (the typical Tiny is 250sf)

Eliminate the many restrictions against ADU's (accessory dwelling units on existing lots) such as 7500 square feet minimum lot sizes. Implement SB 1051 in the spirit intended by the legislature.

Allow homeowners to rent space to RV dwellers, trailers, vans, etc. RV dwelling is already legal but the collection of rent by homeowners is prohibited.

Allow developers, optionally, to apply national building code for RVs for new home construction. If it's safe enough for RV's, it's safe enough for Tiny Houses on foundations.

Allow Yurts, Tuff sheds, and any other reasonable alternative housing types.

Give incentives for conversion of any garage or outbuilding that can achieve building code for insulation, heat and safety, to residential use (either as ADU or spare bedroom). (the New Housing Unit incentive.)

Implement HB2001 (2,3, and 4 plexes by right) as intended by the legislature.

Allow and encourage lofts or residential floors above bonafide business operations in commercial and industrial zones.

Amnesty and grandfather all the unpermitted housing that has been built in Eugene. With public gratitude.

Raise the height limits for housing in Eugene, and reduce slope and setback restrictions to make more housing feasable.

Make the property tax progressive rates, with no tax on the first 1000 square feet of land per household. and progressively higher rates thereafter, based on progressively higher land values in order to discourage land accumulations for investment.

Give property tax rebates to low income renters. We had a Renters Rebate.

End the mortgage interest deduction on any form of real estate.

Stop forcing non-drivers to subsidize drivers: ABOLISH Transportation SDCs (System Development Charges) for roads, upon housing construction.

Stop requiring on-site parking, to get a permit for new residential construction. (automobile subsidy)

Require vehicle owners to identify a place where they will park it, before they can get a vehicle registration at the DMV. i.e. issue building permits without driveways or parking. (this is common in other countries)

Flag vehicles at the registration level who don't have on-site parking, and prohibit those from parking the vehicle on the street. Perhaps a special flag on the license plate.

Abolish System Development Charges (SDCs) on qualifying low income housing.

Convert some of Eugene's 3 square miles of pavement, to low income housing. i.e. close some streets and sell them, or use them for RV parks with facilities.

Allow any block of street to be privatized if all the adjoining land holders agree, and fire access lanes and utility easements are maintained, and low income housing is built. City or county simply vacates the land.

Stop the public housing authority (Homes for Good) from liquidating low income housing and lands.

Cut the cost of construction of low income housing, which is recently exceeds $250,000 per unit. Use manufactured housing, capped at $50,000/unit.

Stop allowing neighborhoods to block low income housing developments. As, Seattle abolished their neighborhood associations' role in land use planning after they organized to kill the multiyear effort for reasonable density along major bus corridors.

Establish completely new code setting forth, what is low income housing by definition. It's less than $50,000 per unit, and less than 500 square feet for an individual, for example. Because otherwise it inevitably gravitates to higher rents.

Grant government lands for low income housing projects, both public and private, for the lowest incomes. All existing private and corporate "Title" in Oregon was originally "granted" by the federal or state governments, to "settlers" and homesteaders.

Modernize the County database for Section 8 and other services, and create a certified reliable ranking system for households who need public housing the most, integrating their household expenses as well as incomes.

Identify concessions or exemptions from all building or zoning code not necessary for health and safety, to be granted to housing for certified low income people.

Establish a new zoning type for low income housing with code concessions and incentives for cheap housing. but only for certified low income owners or tenants in the County database. "Low Income Housing" zoning (LIH) would have two components: cap on production cost e.g. $50,000 per unit to reduce likelihood of gentrification, and, restriction to qualified low income households.

Expand the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)

Designate percentages of all annexations to the City UGB based on income deciles, ensuring 20% of the land goes to the bottom 20% incomes, and so forth.

Adopt the Portland plan whereby Housing Authority builds ADU for property owners who agree to rent it to certified low income household.

Restrict demolition of usable housing that is not end-of-life. Calculate the value of housing lost, collect fees from the demolisher based on those years of rental value, and apply to public housing programs.

End all public programs for "low income housing" that revert to private ownership and market rates later, e.g. LIHTC projects. Terminate Eugene's participation in LIHTC.

End the requirment for sewer connections, if approved, inspected compost toilets and graywater disposal.

Develop building code for Tiny Houses on steep slopes, e.g., 10x20 structures on one concrete pier, with gravel path access, with no parking requirement or road if conditions are met.

Abolish restrictions on the number of people who can live in a house (currently five people)

Abolish the MUPTE and all forms of city subsidies, land grants etc. for middle housing or luxury development.

Identify most progressive revenue streams by which to significantly fund municipally-owned social housing.

Remove restrictions upon, and provide funding and support, for SROs. (Single Room Occupancy hotels)

Levy a money-creation tax on the major banks' branches in Eugene, calculated as their share of the free-moneyprinting operations by the Fed. The cause of housing inflation is the money creation. We need to reclaim that free money, and use it as operating capital within a municipal bank. The rising tide of money creation has not lifted all boats, but it sure as hell lifted all housing prices.

Enact limitations on maximum lot size. Like 4000 square feet. Abolish new developments with these excessive lot sizes of the last ccentury.

Impose fees on single-story construction, to drive more intensive use of the space. Use the revenue for public housing.

Require new construction anywhere the lot is bigger than 4000sf, to be tight against one corner of the lot, in order that future generations can build another house on the land without tearing down the old house.

Stop prohibiting alley development.

Allow low-volume commercial activities such as food service in residential housing.

Enact the CET (construction excise tax) at the highest levels allowed by the Oregon statute, instead of half measures.

Require registration and quarterly reports from STRs (short term rentals) so we can understand the degree of impact on the bottom 10 or 20% of incomes.

Provide pre-approved plans for the low-cost houses, apartments, duplexes and ADUs

Terminate existing deed restrictions that limit occupancy or residential use of property.

Rezone some Commercial and Industrial land for Residential use.

Purchase or lease excessive and unused Union Pacific, EWEB, and other institutional land for low income housing.

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