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Fifth Time’s the Charm: Work Begins on Seven-House Development on SW18th Drive

[Posted October 14, 2020]

After almost ten years of application process and planning, the land division has been approved and the lot cleared in preparation for construction at 5920 SW 18th Dr., just north of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Vacant since the demolition of the original house in 2008, the property could be home to seven new single-family dwellings as soon as late summer of 2021.

aerial view of the area around 5920 SW 18th Dr.
5920 SW 18th Dr., in the Sunset Triangle

As reported by the Hillsdale News when the last plan to develop the lot failed in 2014, there had been at least four previous attempts. Earlier proposals called for as many as 21 units on Johnson’s property combined with the lot next door. This time, property owner Lance Johnson, who lived there until 2004, is developing the property himself rather than try to sell it to another developer.

Johnson’s plan calls for seven detached houses, each with a two-car garage and additional off-street parking on the driveway. The R2.5 zoning permits up to 15 units on the one-acre lot, but restrictive covenants in the so-called Sunset Triangle between SW 18th Dr. and Sunset Blvd. conflict with city density rules, complicating the planning process for would-be developers.

The division of the property into seven parcels has received all final approvals from the city. The first phase is construction of sidewalks, sewer facilities, and the alleyway that will extend east from SW 18th Dr. to provide access to the homes. Permit applications for an additional nine dwellings have been filed by the owner of the neighboring lot at 6410 SW 18th Dr. and are currently under review by the city.

Johnson estimates that building construction will begin in early 2021, once the sewer and other infrastructure work has been completed. He has drawn up plans for a sample home, but is also considering selling the lots to other builders.

The project calls for a new sidewalk along SW 18th Dr. Planters next to the sidewalk will provide stormwater management improvements. The pedestrian access from the homes does not extend through to SW Sunset Blvd, but Johnson points out that adjacent property owners could someday decide to complete the connection with Sunset.

Johnson says “it’s taken more than a decade to get through the city’s land-division process. They want more housing, but they sure don’t make it easy.”


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