The dust has settled on Eugene’s middle housing code amendments. Whether you were for or against the proposed changes, there’s a better way for us to increase housing density.
Because HB 2001 requires cities to allow increased density in residential areas, that’s where everyone has been focusing attention. But we are overlooking the obvious location to build new housing: parking lots. Eugene, like most cities, has acres of surface parking lots — some quite large — that could be partly or fully converted to housing and enhance neighborhoods rather than destroy them.
How many homes or apartments could be built on the parking lots at South Eugene High School, the Oregon Electric Station or St. Mary’s church downtown? And then there’s the sea of asphalt surrounding Valley River Center. With three- to five-story apartments built on it, hundreds of people could be housed on VRC’s parking lot.
Our state legislators passed a law that resulted in a contentious land use debate and pitted neighbors against one another. Now let’s come together and urge the City Council to do everything within its power to incentivize housing on parking lots so they become more attractive to developers than existing neighborhoods.