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City Relaxes Regulations on Residential Property Improvements


City Relaxes Regulations on Residential Property Improvements

Roseburg, OR – The Roseburg City Council, during the July 13, 2020 meeting, passed Ordinance No. 3540, an amendment to the Roseburg Municipal Code (RMC), which modifies sidewalk requirements on residential property improvements. The amendment to the code will provide residential property owners with the ability to make modest improvements to their property without the immediate costs associated with constructing a sidewalk.

Prior to adoption of the ordinance, Section 12.06.020 (E) of the Roseburg Municipal Code required property owners, who planned to make certain improvements increasing the floor space of their home, to construct a sidewalk as a condition of obtaining a development permit. Due to the significant costs associated with building a sidewalk, this provision in the code created barriers for residents looking to improve their home. City staff identified this issue in the code and requested an amendment that relaxed these requirements.

Community Development Director Stuart Cowie comments on the amendment and what this means for homeowners in Roseburg.

“The original intent of the code provision was to create a complete network of sidewalks throughout the community,” says Cowie. “We still want to achieve that, but what we realized when applying the code was that it became a challenge for our residents when the cost to build a sidewalk exceeded the cost of the home improvement. Now, with this amendment, we’ve made it easier for homeowners to improve their properties.”

The code amendment creates an exception to the installation of a sidewalk in certain circumstances. In order to qualify, and to defer construction of the sidewalk, the property must be:

  • A single family residence or duplex, and;
  • The addition and/or accessory structure(s)  may not increase the size of the floor area of all structures on the property more than 15 percent, and;
  • No public sidewalk may exist within 250 feet of the property frontage on the same side of the street.

In addition to the exception, the code amendment gives discretion to the Public Works Director when determining if sidewalks are required where obstructions or topographic features prevent construction. For example, if a large tree or utility pole obstructs the construction of a sidewalk, the Public Works Director may make a determination that installing a sidewalk is not feasible.

Prior to this code amendment, any development that increased the size of a structure required the construction of a sidewalk at the owner’s expense. Although this solved the problem of missing or incomplete sidewalk networks throughout the City, it created a new problem for homeowners looking to increase the value and utility of their property. The new code amendment looks to find a balance between the City’s goals to provide sidewalks throughout the community while providing reasonable requirements enabling citizens to make modest improvements to their residential property, without the cost burden of expensive sidewalk development.

For more information, please contact the City Community Development Department at 541-492-6750 or    


Posted by RoseburgAdmin