LU 15-0019: Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands Revisions

Amend the Comprehensive Plan (text and map), adopting a new Healthy Ecosystems chapter and replacing Plan provisions under Goal 5 (Open Spaces, Scenic and Natural Resources), Goal 6 (Air Resources Quality), and Goal 15 (Willamette River Greenway); amend the Community Development Code (CDC) and Zoning Map to implement changes to the Sensitive Lands overlay districts (LOC 50.05.010 and LOC; and amend cross-references contained in the CDC, LOC 42 (Streets and Sidewalks), LOC 47 (Signs), and LOC 55 (Trees) for consistency with the amended Sensitive Lands regulations.

Project Updates: 

At its meeting on December 15, 2015, the City Council approved the proposed amendments (Ordinance 2687).

A link to adopted Ordinance 2687 is available below under "Key Documents."

At its meeting on November 17, 2015, the City Council held a public hearing and made a tentative decision to approve the proposed amendments (Ordinance 2687).  The Council is scheduled to consider adoption of the final ordinance on December 15, 2015. For more information regarding the Council's agenda and schedule, please contact Anne-Marie Simpson, City Recorder, (503) 534-4225.

At its meeting on October 12, 2015, the Planning Commission approved the Findings, Conclusions and Order (final recommendation).  The City Council public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

View the updated Sensitive Lands Map which reflects revisions made by the Planning Commission.

For more information regarding the Council's agenda and schedule, please contact Anne-Marie Simpson, City Recorder, (503) 534-4225.

At its meeting on 09/28/15, the Planning Commission reopened the public hearing, heard additional testimony and made a preliminary recommendation that the City Council approve the proposed amendments as discussed.  The Findings, Conclusions and Order (the final recommendation) will be considered on October 12, 2015.

At its meeting on September 14, 2015, the Planning Commission opened the public hearing, received a presentation from staff and accepted public testimony.   The Commission continued the hearing to Monday, September 28, 2015, and asked that staff return with clarifying information. Additional written testimony will be accepted and the Commission will also accept testimony at the continued hearing on September 28th.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands amendments (LU 15-0019) on September 14, 2015. This page contains the public hearing draft of the proposal, which has been revised since publication of the June 26 Public Review Draft. The proposal responds to comments the City received from citizens, Metro, and State agencies, and input from the Planning Commission.

Proposed Ordinance 2687 contains the following elements:

Section 1.  Amend the Lake Oswego Comprehensive Plan to include a new Healthy Ecosystems Chapter with goals, policies, and recommended action measures for Natural Resources, Urban Forest and Vegetation, Open Spaces, Oswego Lake, Air Quality, and Willamette River Greenway, as shown in Attachment B.

Section 2.  Repeal existing Comprehensive Plan chapters titled “Goal 5:  Open Spaces & Natural Areas,” “Goal 6:  Air Resources Quality,” and “Goal 15: Willamette River Greenway.” The Healthy Ecosystems chapter consolidates and replaces these chapters, each of which had previously been carried forward from the 1994 Comprehensive Plan.

Section 3.  Amend the Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map to update the locations and boundaries of existing Resource Conservation (RC) and Resource Protection (RP) Overlay District designations, and to add Habitat Benefit Areas (HBA) Overlay District designations (for a new incentives program), as depicted in Attachment C.

Section 4. Amend Lake Oswego Code Chapter 50 (Community Development Code), Chapter 42 (Streets and Sidewalks), Chapter 47 (Signs), and Chapter 55 (Tree Code), as shown in Attachment D.

Policy Direction for Proposed Sensitive Lands Revisions

The City Council provided the following direction for work on the Sensitive Lands Revisions on May 19, 2015:

  • Use the most current and accurate mapping available (2014 Lidar);
  • Apply natural resource regulations evenly (fairly) based on updated mapping and current levels of regulation;
  • Remove RC districts where allowed by Metro, and avoid triggering water quality compliance issues (maintain stream protections);
  • Pursue other code reforms that provide relief to property owners while maintaining compliance with Metro and State requirements.

Summary of Sensitive Lands Map Revisions (“Refined Option 2”)

The following summarizes proposed changes to the Sensitive Lands Map, which can be viewed in hardcopy format at City Hall, downloaded at the project web page, or viewed online using the City’s interactive map.

  1. Resource Protection (RP) District.  The RP designation applies to streams and wetlands that are currently designated Sensitive Lands. It is based on existing stream and wetland classifications with corrected stream centerlines and topography. Unlike the current Sensitive Lands Map, which in many instances does not show required stream or wetland buffers, this map shows RP districts with their respective buffers. The map is based on the most current and accurate mapping available (2014 Lidar); field verification is required prior to development.
  2. Simplify the Zoning Overlays. Where an RC district currently abuts an RP district on private property, the portion of the RC district closest to the stream or wetland is consolidated with the RP district to create a standard stream/wetland buffer of 50 feet, consistent with Metro Title 3. The area of consolidation is represented by the dark blue edging at the perimeter of some RP districts. Portions of RC districts beyond the 50 foot riparian buffer are proposed to be removed if they are not further dividable. For properties that are dividable, a newly created incentive program applies; see “Habitat Benefit Areas,” below.
  3. Increase Protections on Public and Private Open Spaces. The RC designation will remain on public and private open spaces, where the level of protection for designated tree groves is proposed to increase from 50% to 85% of the grove. This includes all currently designated RC districts on public land and private open spaces. The proposed increased level of protection compensates for the shift to an incentive program on private properties where Title 13 resources remain.
  4. Habitat Benefit Areas (HBA). The HBA designation indicates a property is eligible for habitat protection incentives. It applies to private properties formerly designated RC; except where Title 13 allows removal of RC districts as a “De Minimis” change. The HBA designation appears on dividable residential properties and properties that may not be dividable but that Metro designates as Title 13 Riparian areas. Other properties not designated HBA may opt-in to the incentives program if they meet certain code criteria. See LOC, under the proposed Sensitive Lands code changes.
  5. Removed Designations. Removed designations consist of areas that the City currently designates RP or RC (on the Comprehensive Plan Map or Zoning Map) that are not proposed as RP, RC, or HBA. The areas are removed due to map corrections, or pursuant to the City Council direction to remove RC districts as allowed by Metro (“De Minimis” change). In these areas, as well as for City as a whole, the following existing code requirements support habitat conservation: Planned Developments, Tree Code, Hillside Protections, Clean Streams/Surface Water Management Standards, Erosion Control, etc.
Public Hearing Process

The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the full proposal, including Comprehensive Plan and Community Development Code changes, when it meets September 14, 2015.


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Planning Commission Notice of Public Hearing on 09/14/15 (sent to individuals who own property presently designated with sensitive lands on the City’s sensitive lands map. This includes properties inside the current City limits, and properties outside the City but within the Lake Oswego’s urban services boundary.)

Planning Commission Notice of Public Hearing (Measure 56) on 09/14/15 (sent to individuals who own property with sensitive lands that could potentially be added to the City’s sensitive lands map through the current map amendment process.)

Project Details
LU 15-0019
City of Lake Oswego (A)
Project Contact: 

Scot Siegel, Director of Planning and Building Services, (503) 699-7474 or e-mail.

Reviewing Body: 
Hearing Date: 
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
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