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Taller buildings could be coming to part of downtown Eugene

5th Street Market is trying to expand with a new retail, residential and hotel area. The city is considering amending the building height code in that area to accommodate the Market's plans.

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 10:05 AM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 11:12 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The City of Eugene’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss a proposal to change the Skinner Butte height limitation downtown.

They’re considering a specific land use code amendment that would allow taller buildings to be developed in the area.

Currently, buildings downtown are allowed to be up to 150 feet tall. In the Skinner Butte Limitation area, the buildings can only be up to about 80 feet tall.

The city initiated this amendment because 5th Street Market is trying to expand with a new retail, residential and hotel area.

In order for them to build the new development, the height limitation would need to be revised. The development would be about 85 feet tall with signage that was an additional 20 to 30 feet.

“I think that having a height restriction on some of these newer buildings is kind of a drawback,” Eugene resident Julie Harding said. “I think downtown Eugene needs to develop and be a little more aesthetically pleasing."

The change would be limited and would primarily affect properties along 6th Avenue. Some businesses in the 5th Street Market said this new development would help them.

“You know our downtown is so beautiful, it is such a wonderful city and we have so many wonderful local businesses,” said Jessica Blaine, the Creative and Operation Director for Marche restaurant group. “It would be so fabulous to have more density, more residential, more activity and vibrancy to support local businesses and also just create a really vibrant and thriving downtown.”

Blaine said they saw increased foot traffic when the Inn at 5th was built.

However, not everyone agrees. City officials said they have received some concerns about taller buildings in the community and the overall aesthetic of the proposed development. They said they have been working to make sure this would have minimal impact on the views from Skinner Butte.

The Planning Commission is seeking community feedback from the public hearing, which is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Harris Hall. They will then take that feedback and make a recommendation to Eugene City Council. 

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