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Land Use and Zoning

If you have any questions about land use or zoning issues, please email us.

Adoption Law | Portland OR

Oregon's land use system is unique among the states in many ways, including having statewide planning and zoning goals for all land in the state, requiring all cities and counties to have master land use plans, establishing an urban growth boundary around the Portland metropolitan area, and having all beaches along the Pacific Ocean owned by the State of Oregon for public use. All cities and counties are required to file with the State of Oregon their master/comprehensive plans detailing how the land within their jurisdictions will be used and detailing how the jurisdictions meet the 19 statewide planning goals. Based on the comprehensive plan, the cities and counties have zoning and building codes which specify how land is used and developed.The starting point for land use and zoning questions is to determine which jurisdiction is primarily responsible. If a parcel of real property is located within the city limits of a municipality, all applications for development and building permits, and any questions, are directed to the city's planning department. If a parcel is not located within city limits, then all applications and questions are handled by the county planning department. In some situations, more than one agency or department will be involved with a land use application.



Development applications must address, where appropriate, such things as : ​


He was married to the child's mother at the time of conception.

He has legally adopted the child.

He has acknowledged paternity through a sworn affidavit.

Utilities and infrastructure requirements

Roads, parking, and other transportation matters

Standards and codes for construction, including building permits, inspections, and certificates of occupancy

Standards and codes for occupancy, use, maintenance, and operation- Diagrams, maps, surveys, and

Application fees



Planners' actions can include requests for additional information or meetings, approval, approval with conditions, or denial of development applications.


Zoning codes place all property into certain defined zones with labels such as R1 or C2, for example. Zones are classified by and known by their primary uses such as residential, commercial and employment, industrial, agricultural, etc. Within each type, there may be subclassifications. Each zone has permitted uses and prohibited uses which are spelled out in the code or in charts or diagrams used by planning departments. Some uses might not generally be allowed within a zone, but a conditional use application might be approved if the property owner agrees to certain conditions. In addition, a variance from the zoning code might be approved to allow a use which is prohibited.Development applications and building requests are classified by how significant the impact of the development might be on the neighborhood. Less significant matters can be handled by the planning department without public involvement, while matters which impact an neighborhood might require notice to owners of neighboring properties and to the public, and might also require a public hearing.







This information is not intended as legal advice and is not intended to be applied to any specific situation. If you have legal questions, you should consult an attorney.

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