Zoning Confirmation Letters and Land Use Compatibility Statements

Information about getting a signed land use compatibility statement from Development Services. Request a zoning confirmation letter (bank letter) and zoning analysis. Document a nonconforming situation. Request a floor area allowance (FAR) or density transfer.
On this page

We provide written zoning verification for state or federal agency applications. We also provide verification for refinancing and other situations as requested. You can also request a transfer of development rights. 

Land Use Compatibility Statements (LUCS) for State of Oregon applications 

Many state or federal agencies need these statements. Agencies include:

  • The Division of State Lands (DSL)
  • Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • The Oregon Department of Education (ODE)
  • The Oregon Health Authority (OHA)

A LUCS is a portion of an application for a state-issued license. LUCS forms verify that the use or activity requested in the state license is allowed by local zoning and land use regulations.

You can receive the appropriate form for your project from the state agency. Please submit the entire form from the agency and follow the submission instructions on the Planning Services webpage. We'll return the signed application to you within three to four weeks of payment. Land Use Services reviews LUCS forms in Tier 2 Zoning Confirmation Requests, which require an application form to BDS in addition to the State LUCS form(s).

Zoning Confirmation Letters: bank letters and zoning analysis 

Zoning confirmation letter requests fall into two categories: 

  • Bank Letters (Tier 2). These letters are often used by financial institutions for due diligence purposes, they state the current zoning with a brief description. The response time for letters is generally within three to four weeks.  Also:
    • You can request a single bank letter for any number of adjacent properties in the same ownership
    • You must request different bank letters for properties separated by rights of way, even if they are in the same ownership
    • You must request different bank letters for properties under different ownership
  • Zoning Analysis (Tier 3). This analysis is for complex projects and responds to specific zoning questions or provides site/project-specific information about zoning regulations. The response time for analysis is generally within six to eight weeks. 

Complete a zoning confirmation request form and use the instructions on the Planning Services page for both letters:

Transfers of Development Rights (Floor Area and Density Transfers)

The Portland Zoning Code allows property owners to transfer a part of the development potential from their property to other properties in some situations. This includes residential density allowances or building Floor Area allowances, called “FAR.” These are available in:

  • multi-dwelling
  • commercial/mixed-use zones
  • employment and industrial zones

We review applications for Density and FAR transfers through a Tier III Complex Zoning Analysis procedure. We provide property owners with a transfer covenant form to use. The form describes the property sending the development potential and the property receiving it. The form notes how much development potential will result at each property after the transfer. 

First, the form needs review and approval by Land Use Services and in some cases, the City Attorney’s Office. Then, the property owner(s) record the covenant form against the property titles of the properties sending and receiving the development rights.

You can request a covenant form by calling the General Inquiries phone number. You can also request the form with a building permit or land use review application. Complete a zoning confirmation request form and use the instructions on the Planning Services page to apply:

Who can request a transfer

Property owners can complete density and FAR transfers. But, it may be useful to get help from private legal counsel.

Documenting a Nonconforming Situation using standard evidence 

Sometimes zoning regulations change and use or development is no longer allowed at a site. When this happens, applicants can document rights using “standard evidence." 

The response for these requests is generally within 6 to 8 weeks. Please email a completed application using the submittal instructions on the Planning Services page.

Still need help?

If you have questions after reviewing the information on this page, please schedule a free 15-minute appointment with a city planner or set up an Early Assistance meeting for a deeper discussion.