Rules for Zoning Land re. Dwellings

I know that zoning is an issue for a lot of folks, sometimes people buy land and, oopsy, it isn’t zoned for the goals the community has. I know that having a realtor can help with this problem, but my question is how often a varience (change in zoning) can be obtained.

There doesn’t seem to be a community in the two counties I want to live in that would fit us and our needs, and so I seek to find cofounders or join someone else’s group of cofounders. In my imaginings I’d like this future community to have a variety of housing options including single-family (on the smaller end), tiny houses, maybe modulars, maybe container houses, yurts, , and maybe a small multiple-unit dwelling, so folks have choices of how they want to live.

Is there a way in Oregon, or anywhere who has zoning rules, to have such a variety of housing options on one parcel of land (I’m thinking 10 acres-ish? Or would we have to buy multiple properties next to each other and have certain types of dwellings on different adjacent properties?

Not to mention the question of the commonhouse, someone told me that a commonhouse counts as a “barndaminium” which gets around zoning laws? But I don’t know how that works or if its true everywhere etc.

Any info is welcome

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So one of my cofounders has recently begun a new career in real estate and what she says about zoning is terrifying re. community potential, not good at all. I’m hoping we can get lots of veriances, because yikes. Its discouraging but I’m hoping that maybe there are some loopholes we can take advantage of in the zoning codes.

I’d like to follow this thread and stay current with your progress!

Well there are 8 of us cofounders, we had our first official meeting last night and myself and my husband need to meet with some professionals to see if any of the first-time homebuyer/property buyer grants could be used in conjunction with others in purchasing land and getting started. Our next meeting will happen once we’ve had that appointment. Another couple will qualify for loans and has a little bit put by for downpayment, and another member has a bit put by for downpayment but wouldn’t qualify for loans, etc. So now we’re getting bogged down in reality and its discouraging.

A month later here’s where we are:

The founding group shrank, partly because we stepped back, having found out we can’t use any first-time homebuyer grants collaboratively with other people to buy land together. My husband and I may buy in later once a structure for that is invented, but we also have found 2 options in our desired area which could potentially work for us, which would involve buying into an already-existing community. Ultimately we’ll have to see what happens as we go to our first-time homebuying counselor appointment next month. I’ve also connected us with another first-time homebuying agency so we’re just doing whatever we can to make our dream of living in a community a reality. Whether its with our friends, or with an already-formed community remains to be seen.

Re. zoning itself, I learnt that a “barndominium” is not a thing in Portland, a commonhouse is its own zoning animal here like other unique features, it doesn’t neatly fit into a category.

I’ve also learnt that its easier to get veriances for a new type of dwelling, then to get veriances for multiple types of dwellings. For instance this is why many communities choose a type of housing and stick to it. Because one can get veriance for multi-dwelling, veriance for modular housing, veriance for multiple single family homes. But its even harder to get veriances for multiple types of dwellings. Like if we wanted some tinyhouses and some duplexes that would be incredibly difficult and take many years.

A credit disaster put any goals of buying on hold, its slowly improving now, don’t ever let a sibling use your credit, for anything, that’s the moral to this story.

Anyways re. community, we sort of took a break from considering it, but now we’re picking those ideas back up again. We’re not in any hurry to do anything about it yet though, just continuing to consider options, with the goal of possibly doing something aout it next summer at the soonest, but anything we join will have to involve renting rather than buying, because buying is out of the question right now. Our friends from the group did actually end up obtaining land, about an hour and ten min. from here, outside the metro area, so we can’t join them, but their family could now start something if they still want to. The rest of us need to stay in the metro area.