Dont mess with building codes
I have lived and worked in Lake Oswego for more than 25 years. I do not feel that there is any merit in changing existing zoning or building codes.
The city of Lake Oswego is the most desirable city in the state due to its existing building codes and economic history - not in spite of them.
I think it is ridiculous, appalling and possibly illegal to consider many of the infill suggestions, such as limiting new home size to a maximum of 3,000 square feet, even if existing zoning and building codes would allow it, or imposing increased demolition permit fees of $50,000 or more when building a new home already has high permit costs, not to mention the increased property tax the city benefits from, or requiring remodeling instead of rebuilding, or implementing neighborhood and city design review committees. These ideas are more like a dictatorship than a democracy.
In fact if those suggestions make sense, then the following, as ridiculous as it may sound, would make even more sense.
Neighborhood committees and city codes should require all old homes to be torn down since they are aesthetically outdated, do not meet current building designs, are structurally unsound because they do not meet current support, wind load or hurricane standards, making them unsafe, or they are environmentally hazardous due to lead, asbestos and faulty plumbing, energy inefficient and do not maximize the economic potential of the neighborhood or tax base for public dollars. While this scenario is somewhat ludicrous, I hope it makes a strong point.
Now getting back to reality. The solution is simple. First, the current building codes and zonings are more than adequate if not already too restrictive; therefore, there is no need for change.
Secondly, for all those who want stricter restrictions, let me make this suggestion. They can and should record deed restrictions on their own property that prevents their home from ever being torn down, not allow new construction to ever occur on their property, not allow land partitions, prevent any trees from being cut down on their land and whatever other restrictions they want.
To summarize, let's be fair and realistic and not implement new codes that take away the current rights of private property owners and the success of Lake Oswego. I encourage all those that are concerned about their private property rights being jeopardized and are satisfied with current building codes to let the Lake Oswego City Council and Infill Task Force know your feelings.
Barry Hasson is a resident of Lake Oswego and owns a realty business in Lake Oswego.