Big Look Task Force Bill Moves for Floor Vote

Dave Hunnicutt,
Oregonians In Action

The Oregon House Land Use Committee voted unanimously to send House Bill 2229A to the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives with a do-pass recommendation.  The bill will now be voted on by the House of Representatives, where it should pass easily.  HB 2229A is the product of the Big Look Task Force, the 10 member committee created in 2005 by the Governor, Speaker of the Oregon House, and President of the Oregon Senate.  Over the span of nearly 3 years, the Task Force met, received public testimony, and heard from people across the state about the many needed changes to our state’s land use system.  In response, the Task Force produced HB 2229.

Unfortunately, in its original version, HB 2229 was a very poor product.  The bill managed to have unanimous opposition, which is rare for any bill, even a land use bill.

However, thanks to a series of amendments, HB 2229A was produced, and is now on its way to the House floor.  I have attached a copy of the amendments to this email, so that you can see what the bill now does.

Essentially, the bill makes one fairly significant change to Oregon law, along with a number of minor changes.  The significant change relates to farm and forest zoning in Oregon.  Under the amended bill, a county can (but is not required to) re-map their existing farm and forest zones based on the current goals related to farm and forest zoning (LCDC Goals 3 and 4).  This is significant, given that mapping and soils technology has greatly improved since the time when counties were required by LCDC to first map their lands for farm and forest purposes.

But HB 2229A is even more significant in that it allows counties to consider existing growth patterns in determining what is farm and forest land and what is not.  In other words, a county can factor the changes in development in an area that have occurred over the last 30 years in determining whether an area is still farm or forest land or should be zoned for some other type of rural use.

The goal of these sections of HB 2229A is to give counties the opportunity to reconsider the many thousands of acres of land in Oregon that are currently miszoned for farm or forest use, and that have limited potential for farm or forest use.

The bill contains some limitations on development that would be allowed in rezoned parcels, but does not remove any of the existing options which a property owner or county have to rezone property.

In addition, HB 2229A encourages LCDC to consider the regional differences in areas across Oregon when adopting goals and administrative rules.  The bill also makes changes to the regional problem solving statutes that a few jurisdictions have used with very limited success.

In sum, HB 2229A is an improvement over the current land use system, and Oregonians In Action is supporting the bill as amended.

If you have any questions about the bill, please contact us.

Dave Hunnicutt
Oregonians In Action

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