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You can build a small dwelling, but it has to meet the standards of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code which Klamath County uses. The smallest size that meets the code is approximately 300 sq. ft. Alternative materials and styles for dwellings are allowed as long as a registered engineer certifies that they are "equivalent" to the building code. you will need to check with the Klamath County Onsite Department regarding alternative waste and grey water disposal. Solar power is acceptable to use in lieu of other power sources; Klamath County is solar friendly; click here for more information about permitting for solar power.
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The first steps in building on a parcel of land is to determine if the property is in the City or the County; you can find the address or parcel to determine this information by searching the County's zoning map or the City of Klamath Falls zoning map. If your property is in the County, you'll want to visit with our Planning Division. They can help guide you through the process, providing valuable information regarding zoning, land use, site plans, and other items you'll need to gather and let you know the next steps to take. Also, you might want to review information pertaining to buildable lots.
Klamath County Planning fees have recently been updated. You may click to Download a printable copy of the fee schedule (PDF) in Adobe Acrobat or review the updated schedule of fees on our site at Fees | Klamath County, OR. Each link contains the same fee schedule in whichever format you prefer.
You must build a primary dwelling prior to building any accessory structures. One possible solution would be to include a small apartment in the shop, which would then allow you to build other accessory structures. Once you then build the house, you could remove the apartment in the shop so it is no longer considered a dwelling (as there is typically only one dwelling allowed per parcel). You could also obtain a building permit for the dwelling, which would allow you to construct accessory structures (provided they are shown on the site plan) prior to the dwelling. Once you have that building permit for the dwelling, you can also obtain a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to live in an RV during construction.
Staying on the property in an RV is considered camping; camping in Klamath County is limited to 21 days in a 6 month period. Once the building permit for the dwelling* has been issued, you can apply for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to live in an RV while you're building the dwelling. The TUP can be extended as long as the building permit remains active and does not expire; it takes approximately 35 days to receive approval of the TUP. The application fee for a TUP is $450 with a $146 annual renewal fee (building permit fees are separate). *Note: a dwelling is either a stick-built or manufactured home.
You can, but you'll need to meet the flood plain construction requirements. This includes having the finished floor elevation of the living space one (1) foot above the base flood elevation; this is determined by a surveyor and confirmed by the Planning Department. You'll also need vents placed in the walls or foundation and accessory structures (shops, sheds, etc.) must have openings in the portions of the structures that are below base flood elevation. To view FEMA preliminary floodplain maps for Klamath County visit the FEMA website. You may also wish to review the information in the NFIP Floodplain Management Guidebook (click here to be redirected).