By: Rand Campbell
A lot of record dwelling gives a landowner the right, in some cases, to a nonfarm dwelling if the landowner or their family owned the property before laws limiting development were enacted. The purpose of these dwellings is to preserve the right landowners had before zoning laws restricted building new houses on farm and forest land.
Generally, approval for a lot of record dwelling requires that (1) the property be continuously owned by the present owner or a family member since January 1985, (2) the property does not already contain a dwelling, and (3) the property was not part of a larger tract of land that contained a dwelling. The dwelling must also comply with the governing county's comprehensive plan and may be further restricted if the dwelling will be sited on high-value farmland. The general requirements are provided in ORS 215.705 and OAR 660-033-0130(3), but individual counties may have their own versions of these requirements.
As farms and ranches are conglomerated into larger operations and development is restricted to land within cities, a lot of record dwelling is a potential land use for some landowners. As provided in ORS 215.705(7), a landowner can get approval for a lot of record dwelling then transfer that approval when they sell their property.
Rand Campbell is a law student at Willamette Law. When he graduates in 2019, Rand is interested in practicing land use law in Central and Eastern Oregon. After serving as an extern for the firm this past summer, Rand is now working for Van Vactor Law LLC as a law clerk.
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