April 1, 2024

Major Residential Alteration and Addition – What is it?

The Hillside House by Christie Architecture is an example of a major residential alteration and addition.

The Major Residential Alteration and Addition (MRAA) notification is a notice period prior to issuance of a permit for large remodel projects in the City of Portland. Building permits will not be issued until the requirements of the MRAA are met.

To read more detailed information on the regulation visit City Code Title 24 Building Regulations. We offer the highlights below.

What is the purpose of Portland’s Major Residential Alteration & Addition Permit?

Think of this regulation as a courtesy notice for the neighborhood. The notice period gives surrounding neighbors and interested organizations a heads-up that a major residential alteration or addition will be starting in the area soon.

What types of structures does the Major Residential Alteration & Addition Permit apply to?

The MRAA applies to all one and two-family residential structures in all residential zones in Portland. However, it does not apply to residential properties in commercial or industrial zones. Furthermore, it does not impact detached accessory structure projects,  such as garages, greenhouses or accessory dwelling units.

What qualifies as a Major Residential Alteration & Addition?

If your project involves the removal of 50% or more of the exterior walls above the foundation, then it is qualifies as a Major Alteration. On the other hand, if you are adding more than 500 square feet of new interior space AND expanding the structure’s footprint or envelope, it qualifies as a Major Addition.

For more specific details, see Brochure 14 from the Bureau of Development Services (BDS).

What does this really mean?

If you want to build a 550 sf addition to your house, then at least 35 days BEFORE your building permit is issued, you (as the permit applicant) need to do two things. First, email a letter to the recognized organization(s) whose boundaries include the site. This may include churches, schools, or other neighborhood organizations. Then, post door hangers (available from BDS) on the 10 properties surrounding the site of the project.

The important information to share in the email and on the hangers includes the site address, a general description of the project, the dates of construction, the contact information for agencies that regulate lead and asbestos abatement and your contact information.

What happens after the 35 days are up?

Upon completion of the 35-day waiting period, your building permit can be issued. A Major Residential Alteration and Addition Notice is simply a courtesy. No one can object, appeal, fuss, or complain. It’s just a formal way of letting your neighbors know that some major construction is going to happen on your site.

Be a good neighbor.

When tackling a major project on your property, courtesy and communication support healthy community relationships. At CA, we help our clients manage this effort as part of the permitting process. Want to learn more about permitting details like MRAA? Call us.