LU 23-0036: Community Development Code Annual Amendments (2023)

Project Background / Summary: 

The purpose of the proposed code amendments is twofold: 1) to correct errors, eliminate text redundancy, and clarify text; and 2) to implement minor policy changes intended to streamline the permit process, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  This process is part of the City’s ongoing effort to make the regulations less burdensome on residents and businesses while maintaining community standards.

The proposed amendments include:

Maintenance Amendments (LOC Chapters 50.03, 50.04, 50.05, 50.06, 50.07, and 50.10)

1. Remove references to parking allowances for cottage clusters of more than 16 cottages because the maximum number of cottages allowed in the code is eight. LOC

2. Remove C Avenue from the special street setback table because this right-of-way width already meets the 60-foot width established in the table. No special street setbacks are required. LOC Table 50.04.002-1

3. Clarify that the methodology for determining the front property line for flag lots created prior to adoption of code regulating flag lots or outside of City limits. LOC

4. Clarify that the 75% impervious surface limit for cottage clusters supersedes certain zone and overly district standards that also regulate impervious surfaces. LOC; LOC; LOC; LOC; LOC

5. Update text limiting certain surfaces within the Uplands Overlay district to include hardscape surfaces and roof areas rather than “impervious” surfaces, to be consistent with legislative history and current practice. LOC

6. Clarify that invasive tree removal is permitted within sensitive lands and that mitigation is required for such removal. LOC

7. Clarify that interior side yard setback planes are measured from the property line, not the setback line. LOC

8. Clarify that townhouse minimum street frontage is 15 feet, consistent with the 15-foot lot width required for townhouses, and replace the term “rowhouse” with “townhouse” for consistency. LOC Table 50.06.003-1

9. Update the retaining wall height exception that currently applies only to walls supporting driveway or parking areas for single-family residences to include middle housing and access lanes. LOC

10. Exempt lots created through Middle Housing Land Divisions (MHLD) from the solar access standard. MHLD lot creation is solely for ownership purposes, not zoning or building design standards. Partitions are already exempt from this standard. LOC

11. Update practices for notice of appeal hearings to allow staff to email commenters who submitted electronic comments and did not provide a mailing address. LOC

12. Update the deadline for submittal of written testimony for closed record appeals to City Council to review for new materials and distribution to members of the hearing body. LOC

13. Clarify that screening fences must be sight-obscuring, and exempt property lines within flood management areas and along Oswego Lake or Canal from the fence installation requirement. LOC

14. Prohibit the installation of new invasive species plantings to comply with flag lot landscaping requirements. LOC

15. Clarify that construction or placement of an accessory structure is considered a minor alteration for Historic Preservation purposes. LOC

16. Clarify that Duplexes, Triplexes, and Quadplexes must share common wall(s) or floor(s) LOC


Policy Amendments (LOC Chapters 50.03, 50.06 and 50.08)

The following five amendments each involve policy considerations:

1. Establish cottage orientation for cottage cluster sites that abut an unimproved or unopened street right-of-way. LOC

2. Determine whether to allow a third (or more) garage opening to be offset two feet from the previous garage plane rather than requiring the two feet to be stepped back specifically. LOC

3. Exempt open fences around athletic facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, baseball backstops, etc. from the evergreen hedge screening requirement. LOC

4. Determine whether to allow minor variance applications to all fence standards. Increases in fence/wall/retaining wall height are already considered minor variances. LOC



Project Updates: 



On Monday, February 26, 2024, the Commission adopted the Findings, Conclusions, and Order, the final recommendation.  The adopted Findings are available in the Public Records Folder. The City Council public hearing is scheduled for March 19, 2024. For more information regarding the Council's agenda and schedule, please contact Kari Linder, City Recorder, (503) 534-4225 or email

Notices and hearing documents, can be found in the Public Records Folder.





On February 12, the Planning Commission made a preliminary recommendation that the City Council approve the proposed amendments and directed staff to return with the draft Findings, Conclusions, and Order for consideration at its next meeting on February 26, 2024. 



01/23/2024 - Public Hearing

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed amendments.

The public hearing notice and staff report are available in the Public Records Folder.  

To visit the Planning Commission meeting webpage and view the agenda and video (when available), click here.

Instructions on how to comment and participate are provided in the notice.




11/29/2023 -Work Session #2

The Commission will receive an update, review the proposed amendments and ask clarifying or background questions prior to conducting a public hearing.

Documents are available in "Public Records" folder, click here.



10/13/2023 - Work Session #1

The Commission will receive an update and provide input on a list of potential code amendments as part of the City’s Annual Community Development Code (LOC Chapter 50) Amendments process.

Documents are available in "Public Records" folder, click here.



380 A Ave
Lake Oswego,
Project Details
LU 23-0036
Project Contact: 

Ellen Davis, Senior Planner

(503) 635-0294, or email.

Reviewing Body: 
Hearing Date: 
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Related Meetings

Mar 19 2024 - 3:00pm

Feb 26 2024 - 6:30pm

Feb 12 2024 - 6:30pm

Dec 11 2023 - 6:30pm

Oct 23 2023 - 6:30pm

Related Links