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City 101: Land Use and Development

np_zoning_mapAs North Plains evolves, there are residential and business developments taking place and there will be more proposed in our future. So, how does private property develop?

The City’s land use and development is guided by state law, the City Council, Planning Commission, and the community’s goals for a thriving North Plains. In a nutshell, private landowners come to the City with development plans and go through a process to ensure the plans meet land use code. Public involvement is required in all phases of the land use process as outlined in Goal 1 of Oregon’s statewide land use system. The public must be provided opportunities through notifications, public meetings, and public hearings to learn about proposed development and provide input. This can result in modifications to the proposal before the Planning Commission and ultimately City Council considers a final decision on a development proposal.

More about Oregon’s land use program:

In Oregon, land use planning refers to the intentional and regulated set of statewide laws, policies, and procedures that govern the management and development of non-federal and non-tribal lands. Counties, regions, and cities may (and usually do) have additional local land use planning systems including a Comprehensive Plan and Land Use and Development Codes that must align with the statewide system. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is the agency within the State of Oregon which administers the Oregon land use planning program.

With the passage of SB 100 in 1973, Oregon became the first state in the nation to implement such an extensive and unique system designed to improve coordination on critical State-wide issues including farmland reservation, transportation, and urbanization.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Every Oregon city is required to have a comprehensive plan, which can be seen as the “land use constitution.” These plans are created and updated through a public involvement process in accordance with the 19 statewide land use planning goals and approved by the state. Comprehensive plans set standards on how certain types of land are planned and zoned and they determine development patterns for decades at a time. The City of North Plains Comprehensive Plan was amended and updated in April 2022 and is available on the City’s website.

What is the City’s Land Use and Development Code?

If the Comprehensive Plan is the “land use constitution,” then the Land Use Code contains the “laws” governing land use and development on a daily basis. It contains numerous sections related to a variety of projects and uses allowed in particular zones, setbacks and height restrictions, parking and landscaping requirements, and similar development regulations. The City’s land use code is amended on a regular basis to be both proactive with development patterns and community concerns, as well as reactive to new State and regional laws. It is available on the City’s website within the Municipal Code.

As North Plains continues to focus on thoughtful planning to ensure our community has a high quality of life and the services it needs, public input is needed and encouraged. No one knows North Plains better than our residents, and we encourage you to get involved by learning more about land use and development, attending public meetings and hearings, or applying to join a City board, commission, or committee.