Houses that are located in Portland's commercial and employment zones are the best candidates to become schools or child cares. A house that is located in a residential zone cannot be converted to a school or day care except by going through an extensive land use review process called a conditional use review. Public notice and a hearing are required. The zoning code doesn't allow any property in industrial zones to be used for schools or day cares.
A house that is in a zone with a d "overlay" (e.g. EXd) may need to go through a design review process if changes are made to the exterior of the building.
In some zones, the zoning code requires off street parking that may be difficult to provide on site. But even where there no parking requirement, it may not be practical to use an existing garage and/or driveway for parking, or to create additional onsite parking. You may find that you either need to go through a land use adjustment process, because you can't meet all of the requirements, or that you end up "curbing off" the existing driveway so it can't be used for parking. View more information on the adjustment process.
Another zoning code requirement for most house conversions is that of a six foot wide (minimum) paved pedestrian walkway between the building entrance and the street. A walkway may also be required to connect other features on the site, such as additional entrances, bike parking, parking, etc.
If you are considering using a particular house as a school or child care, check out the address in Portland Maps. The PortlandMaps website has useful property information, including zoning maps and whether the property is in an Urban Renewal Area (URA) where it might qualify for Portland Development Commission (PDC) assistance.
We strongly suggest that you contact a planner to discuss the requirements and options for the house you are considering. You may call the zoning info line at (503) 823-7526 or visit the Development Services Center to meet with someone in person.