By Steve Elder, CNA Media Team
It started when neighbors of a house on 35th Avenue got notice that a development group had applied to demolish the house.
A permit is issued in 35 days if no one appeals. There is a $1,318 filing fee to apply for delay unless a neighborhood association seeks a waiver. Concordia Neighborhood Association Board members unanimously went along, and a neighbor, Tricia, signed as appellant to seek the delay.
You must closely follow the rules to successfully pursue a demolition delay. Start by reading the appeal application carefully. Read the guide by Restore Oregon and Portland Bureau of Development Services. Attend a hearing or listen to an online recording of a previous hearing.
There are four requirements for a successful delay appeal, which must be met or the appeal will be denied without a hearing.
- Notify all permit applicants by certified mail. Ask for a meeting. Keep copies for the appeal.
- Show the property’s significance. This was tricky. The target looked ordinary but was affordable by first time homebuyers.
- Describe a plan to save the house. The target was ready for occupancy – maybe remodel the kitchen or add an auxiliary dwelling unit.
- Show you can afford to buy the house. The sale to the developer was not recorded, so Tricia had to guess the price. She used the tax value plus an estimate for a kitchen remodel and ADU. Tricia is an investor and showed she could borrow against of the value of her property on short notice for enough to buy and improve the target house.
If your written appeal meets the four criteria, a hearing date is set. In this case, the hearings officer was polite, but very firm. Your hearings officer may only consider the four core issues, and courtroom procedure is followed. In this case, the developer didn’t object, so Tricia’s evidence was accepted by default.
She won the delay, so no permit could be issued for 60 days. The ostensible purpose of the delay is to let parties seek an alternative to demolition, but the developer isn’t required to negotiate.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a CNews series of stories about local housing challenges and solutions. If you have ideas for future installments, send them to CNewsEditor@Concordia.org.