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Permit Limitations on Cabin Square Footage
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4/22/2019 at 3:51:17 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Permit Limitations on Cabin Square Footage

Is there a way to obtain what the cabin square footage limits are in each of the National Forest tracts for comparison purposes? I know that each National Forest region sets their own limits but in the recent newsletter I read about the couple who expanded their cabin which has a maximum square footage allowance of 1,400 square feet. In our forest the cabin limit is 900 sq. ft. This seems like a large variance to me. We would like to make a small expansion and I may want to use the differences in allowances as a discussion point in getting a variance approved. 



Sharon Karr


Last edited Monday, April 22, 2019
4/22/2019 at 7:10:21 PM GMT
Posts: 11
Cabin Footprint: Not the Same Across Forests
All Forests set their own specifications, though the highest standard limit I've seen is 1400 square foot limit you read about in the NFH Newsletter. Your forest has a smaller footprint - we confirmed it is 900 square feet - for cabins. If you are trying to add a deck or keep one that is said to be out of compliance, I suggest you request a sit-down meeting and itemize the changes you want to make and those you've been allowed to make over the years with the FS. The more written documentation you have in letters with the Forest Service, the better. Check your Forest Service Regional construction guidelines to determine if any cabins in your surrounding forest are in variance from the Forest's stated standards. Even if it appears that this is an unfair difference from forest to forest, it will be most useful to you to find variances in your same forest and region. We've found that if you can approach the dialog with a spirit of partnership to solve the problem, often Forest staff are more responsive, especially if you're asking for an exception.


Last edited Monday, April 22, 2019
5/4/2019 at 11:30:13 PM GMT
Posts: 10
Agreed with Sharon. Precedent within your own forest, documented and photographed, is probably your best bet.


5/23/2019 at 7:34:48 PM GMT
Posts: 1
1200 sq ft on Crescent Lake, Deschutes Nat. Forest, Oregon.

David Gardiner
Cabin #52 Crescent Lake
Mulino, OR


Last edited Thursday, May 23, 2019
7/1/2019 at 8:56:46 PM GMT
Posts: 4

The square footage limits and how they are to be measured is set in the Special Uses Handbook Supplement for those regions that have adopted Supplements -- presently that includes Regions 4, 5 and 6, which are the Intermountain, Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest Regions, respectively. These Supplements provide important detail regarding the building, maintenance and use of Recreation Residence Cabins.

The R5 Supplement [Supplement No. 2709.11-2016-2] establishes a maximum floor space of 1,400 square foot, which includes ""...both floors of a two story residence (excluding loft which is defined as an unpartitioned open space under a roof) and, where they already exist, authorized guest cabins and garages with living space." 

The R6 Supplement [2709.11-2012-1] establishes a maximum size for the dwelling of 1,200 square feet measured on the outside of the foundation, plus a loft. The loft size shall not be included in the total square footage and should be two-thirds or less of the ground floor square footage.

As has been noted by other respondents, Forests can set smaller square footage limits, but not larger than their regional regulations.



Last edited Wednesday, September 25, 2019