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Senate Bill 1517 Planning Process

Next public stakeholder engagement meeting:

October 19, 2017 6:30-8:30 PM at Tillamook Bay Community College, 4301 Third Street, Tillamook, OR 97141

Background: Oregon land use laws and the Tillamook County Land Use Ordinance allow a variety of farm or forest related uses on farm zoned lands. Uses that are allowed conditionally on Farm zoned property are subject to ORS 215.296, which requires a local government to determine whether the proposed use forces a significant change in accepted farm or forest practices on surrounding lands and allows the local government to attach conditions to an approval to reduce the impact of the proposed use on the surrounding area. Under current law and County Land Use Ordinance, the creation, restoration or enhancement of a wetland is an allowable use on Farm zoned land and does not require a review by the County to consider the impact of the project on surrounding farm practices.  In the past, Tillamook County community members have come together to support restoration projects that benefit water quality, habitat and community needs like flood prevention. However, concerns have also been expressed by the community that these types of projects have the potential to result in unintended impacts to surrounding agricultural lands.  Some concerns put forth by the agricultural community related to restoration projects have been: loss and fragmentation of agricultural lands, raised water tables leading to increased ponding and flooding of agricultural lands, salinization of pasture lands and crop damage related to increases in ungulate populations.

In 2016, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1517 which allows Tillamook County to design an innovative framework for farmers and conservationists to engage in a dialogue around decisions that impact farming and habitat restoration in Tillamook County. 

Specifically, Senate Bill 1517 allows the governing body in Tillamook County to adopt, by ordinance, a pilot program to establish a conditional use review process for the creation, restoration or enhancement of wetlands in areas that are zoned Farm (F-1). The Act requires the pilot program to include a mechanism for interested parties, prior to approval or denial of permit, to enter into a collaborative process to settle any disputes related to the application.

In addition, Senate Bill 1517 authorizes Tillamook County to initiate a planning process to identify areas that are zoned for Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) and are suitable for wetland creation, restoration or enhancement; and areas that are zoned for EFU that are designated for use as priority area for the maintenance of agricultural use.  This Planning Process is currently underway.  

Planning Process:  Over the next two years of the Planning Process Tillamook County will, with robust stakeholder engagement, collaboratively develop a framework for identifying lands that provide highest value to habitat and those whose highest value is agricultural production. This process will:

  • Identify the historic and current location and quantity of wetlands within the county;
  • Inventory potential wetland projects and the type and level of services they may provide in terms of water quality, habitat, flood mitigation and other values;
  • Assess agricultural interests and the land use patterns necessary for the stability of farming;
  • Determine locations where the creation, restoration or enhancement of wetlands is likely to materially alter the stability of the agricultural land use patterns or cause a significant change to farming practice;
  • Create a toolkit of creative approaches that might enable the uses to co-exist.

Tillamook County has entered into a contract with Cogan Owens Greene to perform the analytic and evaluative work required by this process. 

1. Inventory Phase: Identify the historic and current location and quantity of wetlands within the county and current agricultural land use patterns. A copy of the Inventory Memo can be found here.  Please forward questions or comments on the Inventory Memorandum to  Hilary Foote at hfoote@co.tillamook.or.us or 503-842-3408x3314

2. Assessment Phase: Assessment Phase: Assess agricultural interests and the land use patterns necessary for the stability of farming.  Assess type and level of services provided by potential wetlands in terms of water quality, habitat, flood mitigation and other values. Copies of the Assessment Memos can be found here.

3. Evaluation Phase: Determine locations where the creation, restoration or enhancement of wetlands is likely to materially alter the stability of the agricultural land use patterns or cause a significant change to farming practice. Create a toolkit of creative approaches that might enable the uses to co-exist. This phase is scheduled for winter 2017/2018.

Funding:  Funding for the SB1517 Planning Process was secured through a combination of private donations and grant monies. 

How will this product be used?   This product may be used to amend the Tillamook County Comprehensive Plan which would allow the Planning Process study to be used to inform land use decisions related to the new Conditional Use Review process for wetlands creation, enhancement or restoration projects located on property zoned Farm (F-1).  Any amendment to the Comprehensive Plan would occur through a separate, public Legislative Amendment Process. 

 

Questions comments?  Please contact Hilary Foote at hfoote@co.tillamook.or.us or 503-842-3408x3314

 

Thursday January 18, 2018 11:08 AM

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