Posted by Kevin Matthews on October 09, 2001 at 12:33:41:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last night the Eugene City Council held a public hearing and passed about 50 amendments to LUCU into code. It was a little discouraging to be the only apparent progressive to testify at the hearing, among at least 15 speakers.
While the package was called "Minor Code Amendments", and about 45 of the roughly 50 changes were considered uncontroversial and passed uncontested, it shouldn't be a surprise that the construction and business lobbies took the opportunity to move code policy in their direction.
I personally tried to make some points regarding flaws within and watering down of the geotechnical analysis requirements. Within the alloted 3 minutes that alone was more than I could communicate -- failing to explain the needed code language changes exactly word by word, my more general comments went nowhere for this round. I will be following up with staff for the next round, because I think the adequacy of geotechnical site analysis is a truly serious long term life-safety issue in a community increasingly building on wet hillsides.
With no one speaking against, amendments made to the code included widening allowable single family driveway widths from 18' to 27' (a detriment to pedestrians and streetscapes); a fundamental change to the impervious surface calculations, dropping pavement areas from lot coverage calculations (a major detriment to environmental quality, to salmon in particular); and dropping the requirement for licensed landscape architects to review landscape plans (a detriment to both aesthetics and environment). Councillor Bettman and others have indicated an interest in revisiting these areas in the hope of bringing in more nuanced adjustments. Last night, unfortunately, the tide was mostly going out.
Some good news is that detailed testimony I'd made (most recently) at the Planning Commission hearing to bring the South Hills Study (SHS) provisions in LUCU up to match the South Hills Study itself was picked up by the Planning Commssion and by City staff, and all those corrections went through as part of the uncontroversial 90%. So finally, the critical content of the SHS, our bible for environment and safety in my neighborhood, has emerged intact out of the LUCU process. Hooray!
Reflecting on the LUCU amendment process, and how it went along relatively unencumbered by progressive input, I hope that somehow in the coming months FoE could regain the energy, coordination, and delegation to active issue committees that last year allowed it to stay more on top of situations like these.
Citizens Nature Project! http://www.NatureProject.org/nature.html
Neighbors Forum! http://www.SoutheastNeighbors.org/sen_forum.html
Kevin Matthews, firstname.lastname@example.org
541-345-7421 vox, 541-345-7438 fax, P.O. Box 1588, Eugene, OR 97440