(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 01--The Portland Bureau of Development Services instituted a change Wednesday that limits when developers can avoid notifying neighbors about upcoming home demolitions.
The change comes less than five months after The Oregonian reported on neighbors' growing concerns outrage at the number of Portland homes being demolished without warning.
Demolitions require a permit. City code mandates that neighbors be notified before one is issued, and says a permit cannot be issued until 35 days after application. The development bureau requires the property owner to put up a prominent orange sign announcing that the structure will be demolished.
But that doesn't always happen. There's an exception to the rule that developers have used more often than not in recent years. If a property owner applies and pays for a new building permit at the same time as the demolition permit, that notification requirement can be waived.
The new rule limits that exception. Developers can have the delay and notification requirement waived only if they are replacing the to-be-demolished home with one single family home.
That means neighbors will be notified and the demolition will be delayed 35 days any time a developer plans to split the lot and build two or more homes.
Here's the full language of the policy change:
Effective April 30, 2014, the Bureau of Development Services is applying the Demolition Delay Provisions of the City's Building Regulations, Title 24.55.200, to proposals where the application for the demolition of a single family residence is accompanied by an application to replace it with something other than a single family residence. The other exceptions to demolition delay listed in Title 24 still apply to accessory residential structures and residential structures on commercially zoned lots, which are not subject to the demolition delay provisions.
This change was made following the Bureau's review of the demolition delay provisions of Title 24.55.200(K) (1), and the applicable legislative history of the demolition delay code language. It was determined that the exception applicable only to situations in which the replacement residence is a single family residence. Thus, the demolition delay exception only applies when an applicant proposes to demolish one single family residence and replace it with one, and only one, single family residence on that site. Prior to this change, the Bureau had an administrative practice of applying this demolition delay exception to include projects in which a residential structure was replaced with one or more residential structures.
The Bureau is constantly evaluating the codes that it administers and enforces as it works with customers and the community through the development review and inspection process. During this process BDS may discover, or become aware of, policies and procedures that need to be re-evaluated, are outdated or otherwise need to be revised. When BDS revises previous applications or interpretations of these codes, we strive to inform our customers and the public as quickly as possible, as we are doing in this case.
What do you think about the change? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
-- Melissa Binder
(c)2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
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