Do vehicle parking rules apply to your type of home?
These regulations apply to
Driveways are required to be paved and at least 9 feet wide.
Driveways must lead to parking spaces that are in allowed locations.
It is possible to propose wheel strips that are paved with grass or other materials between them.
The strips must be measured at 9 feet on the outer edges and be at least three feet wide (a configuration of 3 feet of hard surface – 3 feet of grass – 3 feet of hard surface).
General rule: No more than 40 percent of the land area between the street lot line and the front building line may be paved or used for vehicle areas. See Figure 266-2.
Alleys: If a lot abuts an alley, all parking and vehicle access to the site must be from the alley.
Corner lots: No more than 20 percent of the land area between the side street lot line and the side street building line may be paved or used for vehicle areas. See Figure 266-2.
Flag lots: If the pole of a flag lot allows vehicle access, the vehicle area may be at least 12 feet wide. This is an exception to the 40% limitation. See Figure 266-2.
Gravel driveways: Gravel surfaces may be approved when the abutting street or alley is not paved and the applicant signs a covenant agreeing to pave the area if the street or alley is paved in the future.
Narrow lots (lots less than 32 feet wide): Driveways are only allowed when they lead to a parking space that is located entirely behind the front and side street (for corner lots) building lines of a primary structure.
Shared driveways: Driveways may extend across a property line onto the neighboring property if the following are met:
- The width of the shared driveway is at least 9 feet; and
- There is a recorded easement guaranteeing reciprocal access and maintenance for all affected properties.
Parking area sizes
Off-street parking spaces are required to be 9 feet wide and 18 feet deep.
Parking spaces are not allowed within the first 10 feet from a front lot line, and on corner lots, parking spaces are not allowed within the side street setback. See Figure 266-1.
Narrow lots (lots less than 32 feet wide): Parking spaces must be located entirely behind the front and side street (on a corner lot) building line of the primary structure on the site.
Types of vehicles allowed in home parking areas
Passenger vehicles and light trucks may be parked in any allowed parking area.
Allowed: Pick-up trucks with single rear axles and dual rear wheels are allowed.
Not allowed: Trucks with dual rear wheels and vehicles with two or more rear axles (including truck tractors) are prohibited in residential zones.
Utility trailers, RVs, and motorhomes
Allowed: Utility trailers, accessory recreational vehicles, and motorhomes with single rear axles and dual rear wheels may be parked in allowed parking areas. Exception: They may not be parked between the front lot line and the building line.
Utility trailers and non-motorized accessory recreational vehicles may be stored on unpaved surfaces. A gravel surface is not required.
Garages can either be part of a primary structure on a site or a separate detached structure.
Detached garages are subject to regulations described in the Detached Covered Accessory Structures Worksheet.
Garage walls are subject to building setbacks of the base zone.
A garage entrance must be set back 18 feet from a street property line. Take the measurement down the center of the driveway. See Figure 930-3.
The location of the garage will depend on the design and location of the living area of the house. Garages cannot be located closer to the street lot line than the longest street-facing wall of the dwelling unit. See Figure 110-10.
Exception: If the street-facing garage wall is 40 percent or less of the length of the building façade and there is a porch at the main entrance meeting specified standards, then the garage wall may be up to 6 feet in front of the longest street-facing wall of the dwelling unit. See Figure 110-11.
Corner lots with an existing structure
If a lot has two or more street lot lines and there is an existing dwelling unit on the lot, this rule applies only to the street-facing facade on which the main entrance is located.
There is also a limitation on the length of a garage wall that faces a street lot line.
General rule: The length of the garage wall facing the street may be up to 50 percent of the total length of the street-facing building façade. See Figure 110-8.
Attached houses: If all the units are 22 feet or more wide, then the 50 percent limitation applies to the street-facing façade of each unit.
If any or all the units are less than 22 feet wide, then the limitation applies to the total length of the street-facing facades.
If there are four or more attached houses and at least one attached house is less than 22 feet wide, then at least 50 percent of the total length of the walls facing the street cannot have a garage. The 50 percent length without garages must be contiguous. See Figure 110-9.
Corner lots: Only the street-facing garage wall that contains the garage door must meet this standard. The 50% length limitation does not apply to the side walls of the garage.
Duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes: The 50 percent limitation applies to the total length of the walls facing the street.
For a fourplex, at least 50 percent of the total length of the walls facing the street cannot have a garage. The 50 percent length without garages must be contiguous. See Figure 110-9.
Narrow houses: If the street-facing façade of the house is less than 22 feet long, an attached garage is not allowed facing the street.
Existing detached garages in current setbacks
An existing detached garage that does not meet current zoning code setbacks, but was originally constructed legally is considered "nonconforming". If it doesn’t meet current setback requirements, you may still rebuild it on the footprint of the existing foundation.
The rebuilt garage may be no more than 15 feet high, and the garage walls may be no more than 10 feet high, excluding the portion of the wall within a gable.
Decks are not allowed on the roof of the garage.
Additions are allowed if the combined size of the existing foundation and the addition is no larger than 12 feet wide by 20 feet deep.
The garage may be no more than 15 feet high, and the walls of the addition may be no more than 10 feet high, excluding the portion of the wall within a gable.
Decks are not allowed on the roof of the garage.
Portland Zoning Code for vehicle parking
If you have questions about requirements for driveways, parking, and garages for homes, please schedule a free 15-minute appointment with a City Planner or call 503-823-7300 to leave a message for a City Planner.