Narrow Lot vs Flag Lot Division Portland Oregon

7 Replies

Hi All,

I’ve owned a large lot .43 acre in central city NE PDX for about 15 years. The city is undergoing major code revisions which look like they will be in my favor for housing infill. My life circumstances have changed and I’m looking to decrease my monthly expenses and reduce the time required to maintain my 19000 sq ft yard.

I’m waiting to see what happens with the comp plan zoning in 2018-19 and hoping the market doesn’t tank.. but it n the mean time.

I’m looking to infill the lot. My zone is R7 which is ridiculous in the inner city surrounded by R2.5-R3... but I digress..

I believe I could apply for a zone change to R5 to get a 25’ narrow lot (25x218) with street frontage and two permissible ADUs. I have 32’ of clearance from house to fence. 

Or.. I could go with existing zoning and do a 13000 ft flag  with a12’ pole. I believe I could get that same number of units either way.

My question is this: would recover more value going through this process with the city before selling the one or both lots after division? Or would I break even after fees and costs? In whic case I sell to a developer and walk away.

Thoughts ?

Thank you!

r 2.5 a if that is the zone is a pain in the butt It took me over 2 years and a lot of frustration to get 3 homes approved.. this city is very very difficult for those type of things.. I would go with the easiest path.

@Laura Young you must be in the Cully neighborhood to have R7 in the vicinity of R2.5 and R3. One of my brokers is working on a plan amendment (zoning change) in that area right now. The city advised him to try and change from R10 to R2.5 (instead of the R5 his early assistance meeting was based on) because of the existence of R2.5 in the area. 

A couple thoughts come to mind from the limited info on your post. 

- 25' wide lots are not allowed in R5 zone. Minimum lot width is 36' (unless you're working with underlying lots of record). Do you have underlying lots of record?

 - @Jay Hinrichs is correct. R2.5 is a pain in the butt zoning for Portland. However, they are making some big changes to the R2.5 zoning as part of the RIP it may not be difficult if/when that ever gets finished. Although, new requirements may make your project difficult. 

- flag lot requirements are going to change dramatically, possibly, with the passing of RIP, so a flag lot may be a good way to go. Or maybe you do both. 

I'm happy to chime in more thoughts if you want to dm me and give more specific info about your property. 

Good luck!

Laura I defer to Mike Nuss on everything city of Portland.. me I am just a frustrated developer lol who does very little in the city itself.. more of burbs guy

You are correct, Mike, Cully is the place. 

"Do you have underlying lots of record?" How can I find this out?

I know R10 will retain the R5 overlay in Cully after the RIP decision but they are silent on R7's. I think R2 would be ideal givenmy preference would be a cottage cluster - but still no code for them in PDX. Getting one approved is laborious at best, if not impossible for an average homeowner.

Just food for thought.. I think the bigger opportunity here in Cully is in R7 assembly and changing to R2 zoning. There have been a couple really successful projects done this way already.

Thanks for your assistance!

@Laura Young I agree with your thought process. Assemblage is a great strategy. It's just very important that the R7 assembly happens within close distance to R2, in order to get the zoning change. That's what planners will do......look at the nearby vicinity to see if the zoning you're wanting to change to is already in existence. In fact, there is a distance requirement as part of the "criteria" they review when making a judicial decision. Also, cost for a plan ammendment is around 20K at the city level....a planner would be helpful as well, which is another 5-10K depending on the project. 

Take a look at this portlandmaps link. The blue dotted lines are "underlying lots of record" and the title 30 zoning code has a special section dealing with "lots of record", "adjusted lots" and "lot remnants".

In regard to the cluster housing....are you referring to Eli Spevak's projects? I thought he was working in an R1 or R2 zone, with larges lots and went the Planned Development route for approval (density increase without a land division).