Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the zoning of my property?
A. The Land Use Zoning Map shows the multiple land use zones in Baker City:
• R-HD (High-Density Residential)
• R-MD (Medium-Density Residential)
• R-LD (Low-Density Residential)
• C-G (General Commercial)
• C-C (Central-Commercial)
• I (General-Industrial)
• L-I (Light-Industrial)
Specific uses allowed in each of the zones are identified in the Development Code.
 
Q. Is my property located in the floodplain?
A. The Floodplain Map shows the locations of the 100-year and 500-year floodplains. A Floodplain Development Permit is required for any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to building structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials. 

Q. What are the building setbacks for my residential property?
A. A setback refers to the distance between the nearest point of a structure and the property line. The standard setbacks are:
• Front – 15 feet for primary structures, 20 feet for detached garages and carports
• Side – 5 feet for interior lot lines, 10 feet for street side lines on corner lots
• Rear – 10 feet, but reduces to 1 foot if there is a platted alley

Q. Where are my property lines?
A. Property lines adjacent to the street are typically located 1 foot from the sidewalk. Sidewalks and landscaping strips next to streets are typically public-right-of-way.
Using your property's Map and Tax Lot number, you can view the County Assessor Maps on the Oregon Map website which will show your lot dimensions. You can look up your Map and Tax Lot number on the Assessor's Property Search webpage.
If there is a dispute over the location, you'll need to hire a professional surveyor to mark the precise location of your property lines. This expense is paid by the property owners. 

Q. How large can I build a shop or accessory structure?
A. A detached accessory structure shall not exceed 1,000 sq. ft. in size or 18 feet in height (to the peak of the roof) unless a Conditional Use Permit approval is issued.
Conditional Use Permit can be applied for to build an accessory structure over 1,000 sq. ft. or taller than 18 feet high. Conditional Use Permits require approval by the Planning Commission and require the applicant address a series of criteria from the Development Code in their application. The application fee for a Conditional Use Permit is $450 and the process typically takes 3-4 months until a decision is rendered. Prior to submitting a Conditional Use Permit application, applicants/property owners should schedule a pre-application conference with Planning Department staff.
If the structure is attached to the primary residence, it is considered an addition and therefore is allowed to be built to the same limitations of a primary residence. 

Q. Can I build a breezeway to "attach" my shop to the house?
A. For a structure to be considered attached, at the determination of the Planning Director, it must architecturally complement and be integrated with the primary structure through the use of similar or complimentary building materials and design, and its common wall and/or integrated roof must be more than an incidental attempt at connection. Garages, shops, accessory dwellings, or other structures connected by a breezeway or other minimal connecting element shall be considered detached structures.
 
Q. Do I need a permit to build a fence?
A. All fences, anywhere on the lot, require a Fence Permit prior to construction or modification. Fence Permit applications are reviewed by the Building Department .

Q. Can I place a sandwich board sign or patio furniture in the sidewalk area?
A. An one-time Sidewalk Merchandising Permit can be obtained here and returned the Finance Department. There are restrictions on the size, placement and display time per City Code Title V, Chapter 51.050. There must remain at least 5 feet of space available for pedestrians to travel. 

Q. Do I need a business license?
A. A business license is required only for certain business types and locations, and different departments review different permits.
City Department                                              Type of Business Permit
Planning                                                            Business Out of Primary Residence Home Occupation
Planning                                                            Temporary, Seasonal or Mobile Vendor                      Finance Dept.                                                    Carnival or circus 
Finance Dept.                                                    Second-hand or used goods   
Finance Dept.                                                    Transient Merchant 
Finance Dept.                                                    Taxicab/Limousine Taxicab/Limousine 
Police Dept.                                                        Gambling Social Games/Liquor License 

Q. What type of business can be a Home Occupation?
A. A home occupation is considered to be any business activity that is carried out on the same site as a dwelling unit, and which is accessory to the Household Living use on the site. Home occupations are allowed to encourage those who are engaged in small commercial ventures that could not necessarily be sustained if it were necessary to lease commercial quarters, or which by the nature of the venture, are appropriate in scale and impact to be operated within a residence. A Home Occupation Permit must first be obtained.
The processing of the Home Occupation application depends on its impact on the surrounding neighborhood, and should be evaluated by Planning Department staff prior to the submission of an application as fees, criteria, and requirements will be different.
On-site retail sales, kennels, and repair of motorized vehicles are some businesses that are prohibited from being home occupations due to the objectionable impacts on the neighborhood. 

Q. Do I need a permit to change the face of an existing sign?
A. A Sign Permit is required for erection of new signs and for major repairs to existing signs. A nonconforming sign must be brought into conformance with the sign code upon any structural alteration, relocation, or replacement. Signs located in the Central-Commercial (C-C) zone must obtain approval from the Historic District Design Review Commission (HDDRC). 
 
Q. What animals can I keep on my property?
A. A Livestock Permit is required to keep livestock, fowl, or bees; and is only allowed for personal, noncommercial use (4-H exempted). Livestock (horse, mule, cow, sheep, pig, or other animal of similar size or larger) are prohibited in the areas shown on the Large Animal Zone Map . The minimum amount of pasture area for livestock over 6 months of age is 2,500 sq. ft. per large animal and 1,000 sq. ft. per small animal. For more details on livestock in Baker City please see our help sheet.
 
Q. Can I place a single-wide mobile home in Baker City?
A. Single-wide mobile homes are allowed only in existing mobile home parks. To be placed on an individual lot, mobile/manufactured homes must be multi-sectional and meet 1976 HUD standards for energy efficiency. Additional requirements are listed in Development Code Section 2.2.200.G.

Q. Can I reside in a travel trailer?
A. Residence in travel trailers/mobile homes/rvs/etc is permitted on a temporary basis for those who qualify for a Temporary Use Permit . Applicants must meet criteria per Development Code Section 4.9.100.D , submit an application, $40 fee, and have the property owner’s signature on the application.
The length of stay allowed is no more than one year. Short-term stays, defined as 28 or fewer consecutive days, are exempt. Per state legislature, residing in a travel trailer for an unlimited period of time is allowed if it is located in a mobile home park and lawfully connected to water, sewer, and electrical systems.
We encourage those needing to apply for a Temporary Use Permit to speak with Planning Department Staff prior to filing an application to determine if you qualify. 

Q. Is a dwelling unit allowed in an industrial zone?
A. One industrial watchman's caretaker unit is permitted, subject to the standards in the Development Code Section . Houses currently located in the Industrial and Commercial zones are considered pre-existing non-conforming uses. 

Q. What can be done about the neighbor's outdoor light that shines directly into my home?
A. We encourage all neighbors to cooperate on resolutions to these common conflicts as there is currently no City regulation for lighting other than in parking areas. 

Q. What can be done about the neighbor's new building that will block my view of the mountains?
A. Height limitations for residential structures are 35 feet for primary structures and 18 feet for accessory structures, measured to the peak of the roof. We do not have regulations on view obstructions with the exception of traffic vision, so we are unable to impose limitations on new structures beyond height and setbacks.