Downtown Design Project

City Council Approves Downtown Design Project Amendments to Comprehensive Plan and Development Code

At the November 17, 2020 public hearing, the City Council approved the proposed Downtown Design Project amendments to the city's Comprehensive Plan, Development Code, and Zoning Map. Additionally, the City Council denied an appeal of the Planning Commission's recommendation to approve the amendments.  The City Council's approval includes all proposed amendments presented by city staff, as well as the changes made by the Planning Commissioner, except for regulations impacting vehicle sales and service uses, which reverted back to the original staff recommendation.

Changes recommended by Planning Commission that were approved by City Council are:

  • Revision of language guiding building design for buildings that exceed the maximum height of the zone, and
  • Inclusion two additional parcels in the Downtown Design District, as requested by the property owners.

Changes recommended by the Planning Commission that were further amended by City Council are:

  • Regulations existing vehicle sales and service uses.  Staff's original proposal would regulate these uses as Prohibited.  Planning Commission recommended these uses be regulated as Conditionally Permitted, with some additional limitations and exemptions.  City Council voted to approve staff's original proposal to regulate these uses as Prohibited. However, City Council did express interest in reviewing updated regulations that would allow vehicle sales and service uses to exist in Downtown Beaverton on more densely developed sites with more pedestrian friendly designs. That work may take place in a future phase. 

The approved Development Code and Comprehensive Plan language can be reviewed below.  The amendments took effect on January 8, 2021.

A separate Text Amendment, regulating Active Ground-Floor Uses, was also approved by City Council on November 17, 2020.  These rules require that on certain streets, ground floor spaces built at the street must be occupied by active uses to encourage walkability and vibrancy.  Due to the economic and public health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these regulations will take effect on July 1, 2021. The approved Development Code language can be reviewed below.  

Approved Comprehensive Plan Amendments (effective date January 8, 2021)

Approved Development Code Amendments (effective date January 8, 2021)

Approved Active Ground-Floor Use Development Code Amendments (effective date July 1, 2021)

What's next?

City Council's approval of the amendments to the Development Code and Comprehensive Plan marks an end to Phase 2 to of the Downtown Design Project.  Moving forward, staff will be monitoring the effectiveness of the Development Code, looking for ways to further achieve the goals of reducing barriers for desired development and promoting quality design and character in Downtown Beaverton.  Staff plan to review the lessons learned after one year of implementing the new Development Code and may propose amendments to make improvements to the regulations.

Implementation projects inspired by lessons learned from the Downtown Design Project have already begun, and new projects are expected to begin in 2021. The first implementation project is The Beaverton Downtown Loop project, a key transportation initiative focused on enhancing walking and biking along Hall and Watson through Downtown Beaverton.  More information can be found at the project web page:

What is changing?

The Downtown Design Project is designed to help carry out the Community Vision mission to make Downtown an even more vibrant place. The approved amendments will help achieve this mission by:

  • Removing obstacles to desired development
  • Promoting quality design that adds to Downtown’s character and meets community expectations

Development Code Changes

The Development Code regulates land use in the city and includes zoning standards, site and building design rules, and other development regulations. Updates to the Development Code include:

  • New Zoning Districts: Increasing land use districts from two to four to tailor development regulations to areas with different character.
  • Promoting Design Quality: Creating new rules to ensure buildings have good design quality while offering ways the city can approve creative, innovative, highly attractive buildings.
  • Increasing Open Space: Requiring or encouraging more usable open space (plazas, lawns, gardens, walkways, courtyards, terraces) as part of new developments.
  • Improved Landscaping: Strengthening standards to add more trees and plants to new development.
  • Promoting Street life: Requiring shops and restaurants on the ground-floor of buildings in the downtown core so that streets are more interesting and inviting for dining, shopping and socializing. Due the public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, proposed rules that would require shops and restaurants in the downtown core will have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021. All other proposed changes take effect on January 8, 2021.

Zoning map for Mixed Use, Beaverton Central, Old Town, Downtown Transition, Historic Overlay. New zones within the Downtown District.

Comprehensive Plan Changes

The Comprehensive Plan sets land use policy and implementation strategies for the City of Beaverton. The Comprehensive Plan is being amended to complement the proposed Downtown Code changes. Changes to the Comprehensive Plan include:

  • Expanding the Regional Center Land Use Designation, which will allow more properties to be zoned for dense, mixed-use development in Downtown Beaverton.
  • Adding a new policy promoting safe, comfortable connections for walkers, bike riders, and other forms of active transportation in Downtown.
  • Designating Downtown Beaverton as a Multimodal Mixed-use Area, allowing local transportation standards to regulate changes to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning instead of state standards.

About the Downtown Design Project

A vibrant downtown is a top community priority, and the city is taking the next steps to make downtown a livelier, more welcoming destination.

Project goals include:

  • Develop the urban design framework for downtown to define districts and gateways, outline building design and placement, identify opportunities for gathering areas and provide connections for pedestrian and bicyclists to connect everything. The framework was approved by the City Council in Fall 2018.
  • Create opportunities for community members to influence downtown design, including the look and feel of the area. This is ongoing.
  • Update development rules to ensure the urban design framework can become a reality. The draft development rules are available for review now. We look forward to hearing feedback from the community. City Council is scheduled to consider approval of these changes this summer.
  • Remove development obstacles. This is a key part of creating new development rules.
  • Develop an action plan to identify quick wins and long term efforts to make downtown as exciting and inviting as ever. Implementation project, such as The Loop Project, have begun, and more are expected in the future.