Bill returns land-use laws back to counties

State Representative Sal Esquivel
Press Release

SALEM—Rep. Bill Garrard (R-Klamath Falls) and Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford) today testified to the House Judiciary Committee on their bill to help give communities a greater role in their own economic development. HB 4095 allows Jackson, Josephine and Douglas Counties to form an intergovernmental agreement to establish regional definitions under statewide land use law.

“As unemployment remains high throughout rural Oregon, this bill gives communities a tool to determine the strength of their own economy and quality of life,” Rep. Garrard said. “We should allow these communities to create jobs and attract new businesses by giving them some relief from Oregon’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ land use system.”

After forming an intergovernmental agreement, HB 4095 would allow the Southern Oregon counties to petition the Land Conservation and Development Department (LCDC) to establish regional definitions for “agricultural land” and “forest land” for the purpose of regional planning under the statewide land use system.

House Republicans say the measure gives these local communities greater flexibility under state’s land use system. If passed into law, they say the bill would demonstrate that local governments are capable of balancing economic development while protecting their own farm and forest lands.

“What’s good for Portland may not be good for Lakeview,” said Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), Co-Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “HB 4095 allows counties in Southern Oregon to review and revise land use regulations that stifle job creation. This bill does not eliminate our land use planning system, it simply allows these counties to chart their own destinies.”

HB 4095 remains in the House Judiciary Committee pending an amendment that would make it easier for LCDC and the counties to implement the law. The bill is part of the House Republicans’ ‘Reform Oregon’ plan that offers reforms to reduce red tape, mandates and government bureaucracy.

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