Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

The latest news about Regulatory Improvement projects.

City Council Approves Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update

Code Amendments will be effective on Jan. 1, 2016

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Portland City Council voted 4-1 to accept the Planning and Sustainability Commission's recommendation on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project without any amendments. The Council did not take a vote on the amendment proposed by Commissioner Fritz, keeping the package as it was initially submitted at their hearing on November 12.  

The code amendments are effective 30 days after approval, which falls on January 1, 2016.  The first day that the Development Services Center will be open after the effective date will be Monday January 4, 2016.

The Recommended Draft includes all of the approved changes to the zoning code.

Commissioner Fritz Proposes Amendment to Accessory Structures Code Project

Change would affect Accessory Dwelling Units in R7, R5, and R2.5 zones

Commissioner Fritz has submitted an amendment to the Planning & Sustainability's Recommended Draft on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project. The amendment was submitted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, prior to the Council's second reading and vote on the ordinance, which was initially scheduled for November 18, 2015.

The amendment removes the ability for smaller accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be placed within the side and rear setbacks in the R7, R5, and R2.5 zones. The amendment does not affect other covered accessory structures such as garages, sheds, workshops or other living spaces that don't provide independent living facilities.

The City Council has postponed their vote on the amendment and the full package of code changes until December 2, 2015 at 9:45 a.m. In the interim, testimony can be sent to the City Council through the Council Clerks office at

View the Council Amendment

View the Recommended Draft


City Council to hold November 12 Public Hearing on Accessory Structures

Recommended Draft amends Zoning Code for accessory structures, including ADUs

The Portland City Council will hold a public hearing on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Recommended Draft on November 12, beginning at 9:45 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Public testimony will be taken at this time.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission's Recommended Draft is based on staff work, with input received during public outreach and through discussions with the project focus group.

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project revises the regulations for accessory structures with a focus on detached accessory structures, such as garages, covered patios, storage sheds and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The amendments streamline the standards to create one set of regulations for all covered accessory structures that is based more on form (setbacks, height and bulk) rather than function (how the building is used).

City Council Public Hearing
Thursday November 12, 2015, 9:45 a.m.
City Hall - Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Ave, Portland Oregon 

View the Recommended Draft

View the Public Notice

Accessory Structures Project passes through Planning & Sustainability Commission

Commission recommends approval to City Council

On September 22, Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a public hearing on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update. After a staff presentation, the Commission opened the hearing up for testimony. Four people testified, and there was general support for the proposed changes. After considering the proposal, the PSC voted 6-0 to recommend the City Council approve the amendments as proposed by staff.

The next step is for Council to hold a final hearing and adopt the code amendments. This hearing is tentatively scheduled for November 12 at 9:45 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave. Check the project calendar to confirm details.

Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update heads to Planning and Sustainability Commission for Hearing

Proposed Draft revises rules for garages, home offices, greenhouses, accessory dwelling units and other accessory structures

BPS staff have released the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Proposed Draft in preparation for the upcoming Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) public hearing on September 22,2015.

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update is revising the City's Zoning Code regulations, focusing on detached accessory structures associated with residential development. This includes structures such as garages, storage sheds, home offices, greenhouses and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as well as decks, trellises and mechanical equipment.

The project aims to streamline the regulations by emphasizing form (setbacks, height and bulk) over function (how the accessory structure is used) while continuing to address impacts on neighboring properties. Specifically, the proposed amendments:

  • Expand the exemption that allows small one-story garages in side and rear setbacks to other detached accessory structures.
  • Set a uniform building height maximum of 20 feet for all detached accessory structures.
  • Require all detached covered accessory structures more than 15 feet high to meet revised compatibility standards for exterior finish materials, roof pitch, trim, windows and eaves.
  • Provide additional flexibility for mechanical equipment installations related to single-dwelling development.
  • Reformat regulations to improve clarity.

The Proposed Draft updates the public Discussion Draft, which was released in June. The Proposed Draft includes staff consideration of the comments received during the outreach period. The Proposed Draft is the staff recommendation for PSC consideration and recommendation at their hearing. The public is invited to attend and/or submit testimony on the proposal.

PSC Hearing Details

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission - Public Hearing
Tuesday September 22, 2015, 5p.m. **
1900 SW 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 2500A
** Please check the PSC calendar approximately one week before the hearing for a more specific time and additional details.

View the PSC agenda:

View the Proposed Draft:

Detailed instructions for submitting testimony: