CFEC RULES ARE LIKELY TO HAVE MAJOR IMPACTS ON HOUSING, SMALL BUSINESSES, AND TRANSPORTAION IN OREGON

What are Climate Friendly and Equitable Community (CFEC) Rules?

In 2020, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order directing the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development to do everything within their authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Department decided that reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by Oregonians was essential to this plan, and set out to create new Climate Friendly and Equitable Community Rules. In their view, these rules were needed to change our transportation and planning system to reduce car travel in every way possible. The rules will apply in metropolitan areas like Portland Metro, Salem-Keizer, Albany, Corvallis, Central Lane, Springfield, Bend, Grants Pass, and Medford — but smaller cities and counties near these areas will be impacted as well. On July 21, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted the rules permanently. Local governments, housing, business, and transportation experts must now scramble to understand and respond to these sweeping new mandates. 

The rules create barriers to affordable homeownership.

To overcome our housing crisis, Oregon needs to build 580,000 new homes by 2040. Families across the state need all types of housing, including single-family homes. These are the houses Oregonians dream of and we need to be eliminating the barriers standing in the way of Oregonians owning their own home. Unfortunately, these rules create minimum density requirements that will likely limit homeownership opportunities in what is called "Climate Friendly Areas." These rules likely preclude single-family detached home development in Climate Friendly Areas and may preclude forms of middle housing like duplexes. The rules also come along with new neighborhood design requirements that will increase the cost of building new neighborhoods. The goal of the rules is to shift a city's focus onto compact residential development, which means more high-rise luxury rental apartments, and less opportunities for affordable homeownership. 

Narrower streets and highways. Increasing traffic congestion on your way to work. More disruptions to our supply chain. 

The rules seek to disincentivize vehicular travel by changing our transportation system. Local governments will be required to plan, design, and build streets and highways for the minimum size necessary for users. This means narrowing local street widths, reducing standard block lengths, and increasing pedestrian facilities and bike lanes on shared roads. New transportation plans will need to establish vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction targets, and local governments may face consequences if they don’t see these results. However, transportation experts fear that exact opposite may occur, that we will have more congestion and time spent in vehicles, which will also have strong implications for our supply chain. Here's how the state put it in their own traffic impact statement:

“[T]he transportation scenario planning requirements may increase congestion on roadways shared by both light vehicles and freight, which could negatively impact a wide range of businesses as well as the public. Freight mobility has been under increasing stress due to a rise in just-in-time inventory management and online retail, and the importance of supply chains has been a significant business factor in the last year.” – DLCD Fiscal Impact Statement

Expect more costs to local businesses and headaches for patrons.

Alongside impacts to freight, which will impact businesses’ ability to sell goods, these new rules will also change where businesses can be placed, how they are built, and how Oregonians travel around town to get to them. Specifically, these rules are designed to disincentivize vehicular travel by mandating that cities eliminate and reduce parking spots so that people are more likely to use public transit, walk, or bike. These rules emphasize changing entrances to buildings, regulating existing parking lots more heavily, and assessing fees against businesses for having parking spaces. The rules even go so far as to potentially preclude certain auto-oriented businesses in locations designated as Climate Friendly Areas. This may mean having to drive out of your area to visit gas stations, service stations, or other drive-through businesses, and that parking will be much more difficult to find in our state's economic centers.

Taxpayers are on the hook for rules they did not approve.

These rules have a huge price tag and will require local governments to rewrite their planning rules. The Legislature will likely be asked to fund the implementation of these rules in the 2023 session. Local governments are predicting that the Legislature will need to approve $100 million to simply implement these rules as drafted because they are so complicated.

HOW PEOPLE ENGAGED

Oregonians made their voices loud and clear on these rules. On two separate occasions, over one thousand Oregonians wrote to the Land Conservation and Development Commission asking them to SLOW DOWN, STUDY THE IMPACTS, and BROADEN THE CONVERSATION.

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