Planning Commission Public Hearing - Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands Amendments (LU 15-0019)

Posted Mon, 08/31/2015 - 10:12am

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold public hearing on proposed Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands amendments (LU 15-0019) on September 14, 2015.

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), Chapter 52 (Erosion Control), 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, here:

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 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 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.

For more information, please refer to the Land Use Case File for the Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands proposal by clicking here: LU 15-0019