Variance Resources

What is a Variance?

A Variance is a process whereby you may request an adjustment to our community adopted standards in the Oregon City Municipal Code.

What is the Difference Between a Major and a Minor Variance?

Minor Variances are less discretionary and may be processed by staff while Major Variances require review by the Planning Commission.  Minor Variances include:

  • Variances to setback and yard requirements to allow additions to existing buildings so that the additions follow existing building lines
  • Variances to width, depth and frontage requirements of up to twenty percent;
  • Variances to residential yard/setback requirements of up to twenty-five percent;
  • Variances to nonresidential yard/setback requirements of up to ten percent;
  • Variances to lot area requirements of up to five;
  • Variance to lot coverage requirements of up to twenty-five percent;
  • Variances to the minimum required parking stalls of up to five percent; and
  • Variances to the floor area requirements and minimum required building height in the mixed-use districts.

All variance which are not listed on the list above are a Major Variance.

How Do I Find Out More About My Property?

The City's website has a variety or resources available including Property Reports and an online mapping system.  You may also call the Planning Division at 503.722.3789.

Oregon City Municipal Code Criteria:
In addition to the zoning designation and any special requests, such as Variances, the following chapters of the Oregon City Municipal Code (OCMC) are applicable to Variances: 

OCMC 17.50 – Administrative Processes
OCMC 17.60 – Variances

The 2017 Planning applications and fees include:

  • Minor Variance: $1,344
  • Major Variance: $2,496  
  • Pre-Application Conference: $551 for a Minor Variance and $1,068 for a Major Variance        
  • Mailing Labels: $16 – or provided by applicant

Note that additional fees are required from other departments, agencies and consultants.

Review Process:
Variances applications are processed as a Type II or Type III Land Use application. Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed for completeness purposes within 30 days.  Upon a complete application submittal, the applicant is entitled to a decision from the city for a decision of approval, approval with conditions or denial within 120 days of deeming the application complete, by state law. Type II decisions are rendered by the Community Development Director, with appeal on the record to the City Commission, and then onto LUBA.  Type III decisions include a staff recommendation and a decision by our 7 member Planning Commission, with appeal on the record to the City Commission, and then onto LUBA.