about the renovation of our new north Portland Church into our future home!


with 2 comments

Well, the meeting with the City official , Mark, went *pretty* well.. better than expected.


The church is in an R-1 (a overlay) zone.  This means we are in a multi-dwelling zone and have a three-unit development minimum based on our square-footage.  This is one major point of which we needed to be certain.. (since we’d had some differences of opinion among the two planners previously, one saying we could do just the duplex, another requiring a fourplex. )  We can’t do a duplex anyway without the building dept requiring that we sprinkle the entire place.  Way too expensive.  We *can* do three, but absolutely not four. (also too expensive, and we don’t have the space.   If they’d required four it would have likely killed the whole project.

If we do a legal zero-lot line land division (town-home) there are also alot of requirements:

-creating a common area “easement” or permanent ownership agreement regarding the area along the side of the building (where the driveway is now) that common space is shared and communally agreed upon in use.

-15 foot street-frontage requirement for the each unit, which means no parking spot like we’d hoped.  Also a lot more landscaping requirements there.. not just a huge patio like i’d hoped.

-a second structural 1-hr wall built alongside the existing CMU wall, dividing the two existing units, as well as some additional supports for the north wall to the roof.  Also a second layer of “type X” sheetrock across the entire ceiling span of both existing units.

-hire a structural engineer to prove that the two walls are laterally structurally independent.

-installation of a new water line for the two rear units.

-installation of a new sewer line for the two rear units.

-provide a soil filration test (to the tune of $1000) to assess how to practically manage and reduce stormwater runoff

-redirecting of stormwater in a manner that is satisfactory for the two units.

-redesign of our essentially windowless front facade design (except the new huge window way up high which apparently DOESN’T COUNT!!) to show a minimum of 15% of total space as glazed area (60 sq. ft) that is transparent from the inside out, with a VISIBLE door.

-reducing the size of the storefront windows out to the side patio.

Next we have to sit down and really assess whether it’s most practical and cost effective to divide this thing up as a condo conversion or a zero-lot line subdivision (townhomes).  Either way is expensive for different reasons, but Eli and Rae need to be able to buy into this for it to work, so renting is not an option.  We just have to figure out which one is more cost prohibitive. Also the overall value retention of each option should be considered.

The Bad News (threefold): The planning department has just been cut in half.  Our planner, Mark,  was the only remaining fella in the department with any experience who hasn’t been laid off.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mark also said he has never seen a land division review take less than three years to complete.  And yes, he was totally serious.  He seemed to want to help us (because he liked Sakura’s designs and wants to see the urban renewal in that particular area especially), but couldn’t guarantees or assurances.  Basically the final say seems not to be up to him, but subject to approval from other planners in the department.  I was under the impression that we’d be getting more definitive answers today.

I haven’t formed an ulcer yet, but I guess I have three years to work on it.

The Good News: No major prohibitive issues came up.  Everything is possible, it’s just going to take more time and money than we’d anticipated.  What else is new!


Written by lilylivered

September 2, 2009 at 1:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Things are lookin good! I’ll e-mail you some photos of a local church I been watching being remodeled

    Jim Heath

    September 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm

  2. Hi Tam, I just read your recent post about your options as set forth by Mark. You may ask him if he could provide you with contact info and maybe some adresses of others who have completed similar undertakings. I think if you do some digging you may run into some type of profesional facilitator type that can help walk you through your situation. I know that when brother Dave and I went through planning and zoning in slc, we would get wonderful info from one dept. head just to find out that there was more to it when we went to other departments. It is comforting to know that you are not wasting alot of resources chasing on persons directions with no assurance that you will be able to jump through all the hoops. You may also ask planning and zoning if they could refer you to some private party (many times a retired staffer or dept. head) that is now in the privated sector that offers such services. I think it would be a great investment. good luck, gb


    September 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm

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