There are many updates to share on work happening at the City of Portland to improve and expedite the process for constructing new housing in the city. Having met with BDS leadership, council staff, and other infrastructure bureaus, HBA has succeeded in getting several initiatives started that will encourage greater technical flexibility, improve communication and application standards for incoming permit applications, and expand programs that support affordable homeownership opportunities. This includes a new program that would allow builder to delay SDC payments until time of impact. SDC Deferrals for Housing Projects: The City of Portland is preparing to create an SDC Deferral program for builders to be able to delay the payment of SDC fees until the time of impact to systems. For all projects with one or more new dwelling units, there would be the option to defer payment of SDCs with no interest for up to two years (from the date of permit issuance), or time of sale, whichever is sooner. It would be available for all the City of Portland’s SDC’s (Parks, PBOT, Water and BES). The deferral amount would be secured by a lien against the property. The idea is that the SDC deferral is not a “new” cost associated with the development but is simply a deferred bill that either gets paid at the time of permit issuance or at the later date, so the first position lien simply assures that the deferred bill gets paid in a timely manner according to the agreement. This housing specific SDC deferral program is proposed to be in place for a period of two to five years – Council will weigh in on the final determination of the duration. This policy development should come to fruition in the next few months. HOLTE Update: HBA is leading a coalition of partners in expanding the City of Portland and Multnomah County’s HOLTE tax exemption program. In its current form, there is an annual 100-unit cap on the Home Ownership Limited Tax Exemption program, which provides a 10-year property tax exemption on structural improvements for newly built homes that are sold at $455,000 or below to a buyer earning 100% AMI. In conjunction with the city’s SDC waiver program, this exemption is designed as a development incentive for newly allowed middle housing while also reducing the barriers to affordable homeownership. HBA is requesting that the county and city move jointly to eliminate the cap on the number of units that can qualify for this program. In advance of this change, we’ve have spoken with several elected officials at both the city and the county to move this policy forward. HBA hopes to have a formal outline of the proposed cap expansion within the next month. MHLD Sanitary Sewer policy change update from BES: BES has recently updated its procedure for sanitary sewer line installations to accommodate recently allowed Middle Housing Land Division legislation (SB458, passed in 2021). In addition to formalizing their policy for sewer connections for duplexes, triplexes, and four-plex units with typical street frontage, the city has also updated this policy to accommodate for 5-plex structures, cottage clusters, and circumstances with denser development. These now include the allowance of Wye Laterals to be used in more cases to support 2-units with a single connection to the public main. And in more dense examples, a Shared Private Sewer System is allowable with a single, shared sanitary line to the public main containing multiple individual connections. This shared system would require owner-maintenance agreements and private easements to accommodate this configuration. See BES presentation slides for more detail. Attached you will find the PPT presentation presenter Adrienne Aiona (Portland BES) shared with the group yesterday. NSFR Intake Success Project (User interface improvements in DevHub): The Permitting Improvement Transition Team is working with BDS and other permitting bureaus to improve the customer experience when applying for New Single-Family Residential permits via Development Hub PDX. The implementation of conditional logic – an “if this, then that” set of questions – will help ensure that customers submit all relevant information, complete applications and supplemental documents during the intake phase, rather than being alerted via checksheet by review staff that required data is missing and/or needs to be updated. Getting the needed information upfront will benefit everyone and save time. There are numerous positive impacts that a successful implementation will produce, but perhaps the most notable goal of this project is shorter reviewer checksheets and fewer overall review cycles for NSFR permits. BDS target date for the launch of this is June 2023. The Correction Improvement Project: The Bureau of Development Services continues to build out online services, replacing the temporary systems they put in place to get things stood up through the pandemic. According to staff, the current corrections process was never intended to be permanent, and they are working to create an improved system/portal for corrections to be submitted. For permits being reviewed via the SinglePDF process, this improvement project will do away with the need for customers to “ask permission” to submit new/updated drawings in response to checksheets. By creating a consistent method of uploading plans and applications through DevHub – whether it’s the initial application submittal or corrections submitted in response to subsequent review cycles – customers will no longer need to understand how to use multiple tools to proceed, as everything will be submitted via DevHub. Additionally, there will be greater transparency that the materials have been received by City staff, giving customers more certainty, and Permitting Services staff who currently manage the email inbox requesting the ability to upload, can focus on the actual processing of those corrections. Single Point of Contact: Starting in February of 2023, BDS launched a Single Point of Contact pilot program conducted that will provide customers with a dedicated staff member to reach out to if/when questions arise. Questions may be related to process, permit status, the inability to connect with technical review staff, or to help facilitate coordination or conflict resolution between multiple bureaus, among other needs. The Single Point of Contact can also be used to elevate issues to the Supervisor, Manager or Director level. The Single Point of Contact will be assigned to all NSFR, batch, MHLD, and Multi-Dwelling New Construction permits. After a permit has been deemed complete for intake/review, the Single Point of Contact will reach out via phone/email to the applicant of the permit, introduce themselves, and provide their contact information. That employee will be available through from intake through the issuance of the building permit to assist, when called upon. As a pilot, BDS is evaluating numerous factors associated with this responsibility, but hope that it alleviates the frustration that our members have experienced when unsure of how to proceed with issues related to permits. Process Analysis Underway, Team by Team: BDS’ Permitting Improvement staff are doing an analysis of the permit review processes to find efficiencies or other ways to improve service delivery. Currently the city is working on the Water Bureau’s processes to see where they can find some more efficient ways to review permits, and help them be able to better manage their workload and deliver more timely services. BDS Life Safety Plans Examiners just completed this analysis for their review staff, and will be implementing recommended actions and next steps.