West v. Multnomah Cnty.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 03-04-2015
  • Case #: A158038
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the template test, a dwelling must continue to exist, as a dwelling, at the time the test is applied; to be considered a dwelling, the structure must have the functional necessities that make use as a dwelling possible.

Multnomah County denied West’s application for a new “template dwelling” on their property; to qualify, West needed to show five dwellings existed as of 1993, and continued to exist, within a 160-acre square centered on their property. West argued that a structure on their property, a vacant and dilapidated house built in 1906, qualified as a dwelling under the county code. Multnomah County and the Land Use Board of Appeals determined the structure did not. West appealed, renewing their argument. The Court, applying the template test, held that for a dwelling to continue to exist, it must exist as a dwelling, and must continue to exist as of the time the template test is applied. The Court found the 1906 structure lacked the minimum design features necessary to be a dwelling, including a “functional roof, intact exterior walls and windows, and an accessible entrance, all of which indisputably are design requirements for a dwelling unit.” Accordingly, the structure is not a dwelling that continued to exist at the time of West’s application. Affirmed.

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