Formerly the home of Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth, the Portland Land Matters blog explores citywide land-use concerns, such as home demolitions, with the belief that development should create an improvement.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Portland for sale: ¢heap to least compliant, lowest quality builders!
Too big to believe? Under recent hush-hush changes to code, there will be more.
While Portlanders were out tending their poetry posts, the city was busy changing code. City staff must have put in a lot of overtime recently, not only to rush into a secret meeting to approve rogue developer Wally Remmers's violation of the Stormwater Management Manual—the city's overarching rulebook to water management for builders—but over the new year they changed the manual itself, presumably to encourage Remmers and his illk even more.
Where the manual used to say that drywells "must" be 10 feet away from foundations and 5 feet from property lines, now it's just "typically." That little shift opens the floodgates to more irresponsible development in the neighborhoods. This change—and I'm sure it's just one example—shows how far city staff will go to shove a noncompliant 41,000-square-foot object down our throats, giving the green light to another wave of oversize buildings. Too bad there's no handy acronym for Not in Anyone's Back Yard.
Before launching into a chorus of "Here's to you Mr. Robinson" as an ode to the lawyer who takes his orders from Mr. Reamers and then in turns inflicts them on the city, and then us, it's worth wondering again about the integrity of city staff and the rules they're supposed to follow. That 10-foot, 5-foot guideline came from state code, and has as its basis recommendations from working groups of experts and others knowledgeable in the field of stormwater management. Maybe Remmers and Michael Robinson can stop the rain, too?