We've had a few zoning questions around the office recently, so we thought it would be fun to ask our in house expert, Claire, on how zoning impacts property. Here's what she had to say!
Question 1. How do you find the zoning on a property?
The easiest way to find the zoning on the property is to look at the tax record. You can usually find this on www.portlandmaps.com
Question 2. Is it possible to change the zoning of a property? What's the process?
It just depends! Zoning is very complicated. Whatever your property is zoned, there are uses and exceptions that can be made. But if you want to change your zoning drastically, it involves an arduous process of "land use review". See the application here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/index.cfm?a=71802 It can be costly, depending on what type of zoning review you do (upwards of $25,000). Typically lawyers are involved with this process.
Question3. Does zoning impact a home's value?
Yes! Zoning can impact a home's value. The most obvious is if your house was in residential zoning (typically residential zoning in Portland starts with an "R") and was re-zoned to commercial. This situation could severely, and negatively impact your value, because your insurance company will typically refuse to rebuild your house in commercial zoning, so you'll be unable to sell it to any buyer who needs a loan to purchase the property.
Question 4. Can your property's zoning change without notice?
Yes! Your zoning can change. Typically the city sends a notice to a neighborhood when they are looking to change its zoning, but it's a leaflet that many people could over look. And once the city re-zones your property, again, it's an arduous process to have to changed.
Question 5. Do you need a particular zoning to subdivide your property?
When I've helped people subdivide their property, it's because there is an underlying lot line. If you look at your property in Portland maps, there would be a dotted line across your property. The zoning for residential is relatively simple, R reflects residential, and the number reflects how many square feet a lot has to have per residence. So R5 has 5000 square feet per residence. For example, if you had a property zoned R5, and you had a 10,0000 square foot lot, there's often an underlying lot line, making two 5000 square foot lots. Here's a longer explanation on how to get a lot "confirmed". https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/article/115434