Why We Opposed the SW-SAZ

Thanks to research and analysis conducted by Eben Fodor, Fodor & Associates, we now have a report, "South Willamette Rezoning Impact Study" that reinforces the points raised below, summarizing even more clearly and precisely why we are opposed to the SW-SAZ. Here is the full text of Fodor's report:

Inadequate Public Involvement and Lack of Public Support. Very few people were involved in the development of the original “Concept Plan.” The Concept Plan was only a conceptual visioning project for the distant future and was never presented as an official plan for the area that would be fully implemented in the near term. Very few people participated in this concept planning. The city’s current SW-SAZ rezoning plan is a complex, 83-page zoning document with three new zoning categories and three new overlay districts that would change the existing zoning on almost 500 properties. It was first presented in an open house on May 20, 2015. The record closed for public comment less than three weeks later on June 9, 2015. While few people were able to participate in this brief period, the record shows that most people had objections to the plan.

Inadequate Public Outreach and InformationThe city failed to notify many impacted residents of this plan and sent out only a single “notice of public hearing.” The city still has not produced adequate information explaining this complex plan in a way the average person can understand. The city has not provided any information about the potential impacts of this plan, including:

No traffic Impact study

No parking plan or study

No affordable housing impact study

No school impact study (area schools are at capacity now)

In fact, no impact study of any kind.

Project Confused with South Willamette Street Plan – Many of the citizens that participated in the planning process were actually interested in the Willamette Street improvement plan, not the massive rezoning proposed in the SW-SAZ (this is based on a review of comments in the record).

No Public Investments or Amenities are Included with Plan – While this plan proposes lots of added density, no offsetting or mitigating amenities are included.

No street improvements

No sidewalks

No bike lanes

No parking

No additional parks or open space

No public facilities or improvements whatsoever.

Will Create Serious Traffic Problems Throughout South Eugene – South Eugene’s major roads are already at or near capacity. Adding 5,500 people, based on Fodor's study, to this area would greatly exceed the capacity of Willamette and 29th, forcing drivers to seek alternative routes through neighborhood streets. The business district would become inaccessible and parking impossible. The city’s solution will be an EmX line down Willamette. But this won’t help most residents of South Eugene, and it requires a dedicated lane that would have to be acquired by eminent domain.

Lack of Adequate Parking – Not only is there already a parking shortage in the area, the new plan will lower parking requirements for new development, making things much worse. A three-bedroom apartment will have only one-half of a parking space.

Loss of Affordable Housing – Existing neighborhoods are diverse and have a wide range of affordability. Some of the most-affordable housing in the city is in this area and would be lost under this plan.

Loss of ViewsLarge buildings of 5 to 8 stories will create a canyon-like effect on Willamette and 29th and will block our views of Spencer Butte and our forested ridgeline. Many will lose sunshine to their yards and gardens.

Negative Property Value Impacts on Surrounding ResidentsThis plan creates conflicts with residential homes by allowing high-density apartment buildings right next to single-family homes and on narrow streets that can’t support the added traffic or parking. It is already causing long-time residents to consider moving out and postponing investments in their properties. These effects will ripple throughout South Eugene as the livability of the area declines.

Negative Impacts to Local Businesses – Local business know that customers are constrained right now by access and parking. The growth in apartment buildings envisioned by this plan will clog street and make parking impossible. It will become so congested that customers will look elsewhere to shop. When the EmX bus line is built, these businesses will lose land and precious parking to a new 12-foot right of way.

Most of Plan is Unneeded and Unwanted. This area is already fully developed with great neighborhoods and a thriving business district. There is no need for this plan and very little support among residents of the area. Many of those who originally supported the plan merely wanted Willamette to be a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly street.

City does not need more housing or density – We have completed most of the Envision Eugene planning process and already have enough capacity for the next 20 years. So why do we need this plan now? When the time comes, there should be a city-wide dialogue about density, with an emphasis on downtown.

EmX line and MUPTE in the FutureFuture planning for an EmX route on Willamette and MUPTE tax waivers for this area will likely be added by the city, if this plan is approved.