I am sure that some of readers of the blog are much more familiar with the application of the Metropolitan Housing Rule than I am. In part that rule says that communities:
..must either designate sufficient buildable land to provide the opportunity for at least 50 percent of new residential units to be attached single family housing or multiple family housing or justify an alternative percentage based on changing circumstances.
Recently, I happened to revisit building permit data on the Metro website. After looking at that data, it is clear that while the Metro housing rule may require that 50% of zoning allow for multifamily housing, permitting data shows long standing substantial under achievement of that 50% requirement, measured by county wide building permits.
- In three Portland Metro counties in Oregon, multifamily permits made up only 41% of MF+SF permits from 1970-2009 and only 36% of permits from 2000-2009.
- Multnomah County was the only Portland metro county where multifamily building permits exceeded 50% of all SF+MF permits; 55% of all permits were multifamily from 1970-2009 and 59% were multifamily from 2000-2009.
- Among the three Oregon Portland metro counties Clackamas county had the worst multifamily performance, with multifamily permits representing only 29% of all SF+MF permits from 1970-2009 and only 15% of SF+MF permits from 2000-2009. [In the last decade Clark County in Washington, not subject to Oregon land use laws, had a higher percentage [16%] of MF permits than 15% in Clackamas county].
- I realize that the Urban Growth Boundary does NOT include all of the area in Portland Metro counties and I would welcome any UGB specific annual permit counts by county. However, for at least Clackamas County it is difficult for me to see how the multifamily share in the UGB could approach 50%, given the low county wide multifamily share.
The PDF file I created HERE has annual Portland metro county single and multifamily permit data, along with a graph and link to Metro source documents.
Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.