PORTLAND-The City Planning Commission will recommend that the City Council give developers the option of exceeding the 75-foot height limit in certain areas of the River District where larger buildings would not block existing views of the historic clock tower atop Union Station at Northwest 6th Avenue and Johnson Street. Under the proposal the commission is recommending, developers could double the height limit if they use the extra vertical space strictly for residential product. If they want to use it for more office space, they would only be able to go 45 feet above the limit, and only if they provide amenities such as bike lockers, daycare centers or rooftop gardens in their projects.

Prior to the vote to recommend approval, though, the commission removed one area previously proposed to be eligible for the height bonuses and put back another area that had been pulled out. The studied area includes all blocks between Hoyt and Lovejoy streets from the Willamette River to NW 16th Avenue. Within that area, the commission added back into eligibility a 15-block area west of 9th Avenue, and removed a block or two on the southeast side of Union Station.

The council will take a first look at the Planning Commission’s proposal on the afternoon of Dec. 13. “We’re not talking about changing base height limit of 75 feet,” explains Graham Clark of the Portland Planning Bureau. “What we are changing is the area eligible for height bonuses.”

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