Up-zoning - An assault on One Home Per Acre Density
OSRD Zoning (Open Space Residential Development) was first enacted in 2003. Originally it was a good alternative to one home per acre density zoning in that is allowed for homes to be built on smaller lots as long as the overall density of the development was no more than standard R-2 Zoning (one house on one acre). This allowed for green space along with the ability to have smaller yards for those who were interested in that and still did not add additional houses to the area to be developed. However, that zoning was modified in 2007 to allow for counting as green space a portion of things like land in the flood plain, hillside protection areas, power line easements, etc. These are areas where homes could not be built in under normal zoning. With that change OSRD and OSRD-IP Zoning morphed into a way for Commissioners and developers to play “Let’s make a deal”. By negotiating for small extra things like sidewalks or a bike path developers could get extra lots added for allowable build sites, thus increasing the density of population on that property over and above its planned use. This also added considerably to the developer’s profit margin. Unfortunately, this practice has been continued for over ten years.
Approximately five years ago the City began to require developers who applied for OSRD and OSRD-IP Zoning to also submit plans under R-2 Zoning so Commissioners could see how many houses the property typically was zoned for. Below is the result of what was allowable under R-2 Zoning versus what was actually approved with each OSRD proposal:
Since these projects have already been approved there is nothing that can be done about the increase in density. However, with 7,000 additional homes still to be built in Brentwood we must stop this practice. If we continue at the same pace that will be the equivalent of squeezing in an additional 700 homes on top of the density already approved for that undeveloped land. Princeton Hills Subdivision has 160 homes so the potential up-zoning, if continued as we have for the last ten years, would be equivalent of adding 4.3 Princeton Hills Subdivisions on top of our one home per acre density for land yet to be developed. While it might seem a few extra homes here and there would not make a difference, if Commissioners continue this policy through full build out the impact on Brentwood will be devastating.