Since this is our first go around dividing a lot with the city of Portland and our lot has a few constraints we decided to schedule (and pay $1,500 for) an early assistance meeting with the city and our planning firm. The early assistance meeting is designed to get input from all city bureaus on the proposed build and get their responses in writing to be able to move forward with more confidence that the plans are acceptable to the city.
At our meeting we heard from PBOT, Environmental Services, Urban Forestry, Water Bureau and a Portland city planner. We all met for one hour at the BDS offices and each agency spoke for a few minutes on what their requirements would be if we developed the property. First PBOT had great news that they would not require us to improve the sidewalks in front of the proposed house because the street is a very narrow street and couldn’t support the improvement. Next Environmental Services confirmed that there is a public sewer line available to connect the new house to. There is not storm water infrastructure in our area so there are guidelines we would need to follow for storm water at the new house. Next the Water Bureau confirmed that there is public water service at the street to be access by the new house.
The biggest hurdle came from Urban Forestry. There are two large trees on our back lot. One is a on the back corner of our lot and can be removed with a large fee paid to the city. The fee is estimated to be $13,000. The second tree is a large cedar tree next to the sidewalk. The Urban Forestry team had come out and informed us that approximately 1 (out of 40) inches of the cedar tree was encroaching on the sidewalk and because of this they claimed it as a street tree. As a street tree we are not able to remove it to build. Our design firm assured us that we could build around the tree.
We left the meeting feeling a mix of emotions. We received all good responses that we would be able to build on the new lot with a number of constraints.