Recreational Zoning- problem?

brown_thumb_in_waJuly 3, 2005


My husband and I are starting the search for that elusive perfect piece of property. There is so much we have to learn in the process.

In the various real estate searches we keep seeing beautiful pieces of property that are zoned recreational. Where can I find out info on what this actually means especially in terms of restricitions.

We would like to build a home on our property, plant orchards and garden on large scale. We are also considering raising animals: chickens and goats at the minimum and possible beef cattle- just enough for personal consumption. We have not really detrermined how "off the grid" we want to be as far as energy and water etc. though we are not afraid of having to do alternative power if the perfect piece of property requires such. I mention that because on some of these pieces of property it lists that power, gas, water and sewer are not available- but otheres have some avaialbel so that doesn't seem to be what defines it as "recreational."

Anyways any direction appreciated.


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huisjen(z5 ME)

Your zoning board and zoning enforcement officer are probably part of your county government, assuming this property isn't part of an incorporated city or town. Talk to them.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 7:19AM
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In my area recreational means very high property tax. Farmers by me are classified as Ag, and pay very low property taxes. There are many programs you can get into, but talk to the locat farmers and find out how you can get into one of these programs.

A local farmer put a fence around his 125 acres and got a few head of cattle and his property tax went down about 10 grand a year.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 11:37AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Katrina,

I'd say "recreational" zoning could be a problem, but it will be precisely defined by the ordinances of the zoning board who designated it that way. Get a copy of their zoning ordinances and read EXACTLY what they mean by each zoning classification.

I'm a draftsperson, I do blueprints and deal with Building Departments A LOT. I've dealt with several different building departments and several different zoning agencies. Each one is DIFFERENT. Find the zoning ordinances written by the folks who determined the zoning of the specific property you are looking at. Nobody else's opinion matters.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 7:51AM
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the Federal Agricultural Office in your county can tell you what you need to know. Most counties now have their zoning ordinances on line, and if they don't the library should have a copyYou can look under Department of Agriculture in US Government for the local contacts on line. In our area you should be looking for Ag or RA...Residential Agricultural means you are already approved to put a house on it....I'm not sure about plain Ag. Recreational around here means ....campground, parks, boating facilities etc. and usually means commercial taxation.

good luck.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 4:23PM
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katj75(z8 OR)

Hello Katrina in Washington. I am Katrina in Oregon.:)

In this area a "recreational" zoning means that you can not build a "permanent" structure on the property. I have heard of people getting around this by using a "mobile" home, although they don't seem very mobile these days. We were at one time looking at an incredible piece of property that was surrounded by BLM land, it was 30 acres. Well in that particular zone you had to have 80 acres to qualify as a "farm" otherwise you can't build. What a mess, I am sure there are other specifics, but I would assume you can not build.

Good luck, we too are in the never ending search for just the right property. And some friends are looking for a recreational property. Hey where was that recreational property at? Just kidding I think we are staying on this side of the Oregon Washington border.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 6:36PM
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I want to open up a recreational business,paintball park and gokart duo on the same property. My zoning laws dont seem to accomadate that thefore i was wondering how to go about changing this. It is considered farm land or whatever at trhe moment and is in an area that does not encourage development. What are your thoughts on how i can overcpome this opstacle. thanks kindly, ross

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:27PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

In Central Oregon, if a property is listed as "recreational" that means the building department has already decided that there can not be a septic system installed on the property.

It means you can not build, nor can you live there in a trailer, for more than a few days. The only allowed use is recreational. Maybe you can ride ATV's on the property or camp or hike or hunt. No buildings.

Yeah, recreational property can be really cheap. There's a reason why they are cheap.

If you call the building department (where they issue building permits) in the county where the property is located, they will tell you what is permitted use and what is not.

Ross, I can't even imagine getting permission to put in a paint ball park and go cart track in an ag zone. You probably need to buy in an industrial zone or commercial zone.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 4:23AM
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