What is zoning?
Zoning districts are established to promote efficient and compatible land uses around the City. The districts distinguish permitted uses for each property and dimensional standards, such as minimum lot size setbacks and height limitations. Additional regulations assure protection if the site is historic, near a natural resource, slope or floodplain.
The purpose of Oregon City’s zoning ordinance under Oregon City Municipal Code Chapter 17.02.020 is “to promote public health, safety and general welfare through standards and regulations designed to provide adequate light and air; to secure safety from fire and other dangers; to lessen congestion in the streets; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to assure opportunities for effective utilization of land; to provide for desired population densities; and to facilitate adequate provision for transportation, public utilities, parks and other provisions set forth in the city comprehensive plan and the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission Statewide Planning Goals.”
What does my Zoning Designation Mean?
Each property is assigned a zoning designation which describes the use and development permitted onsite. The designation will commonly describe permitted uses, conditional uses (needing approval by the Planning Commission) and prohibited uses. In addition, the zone includes dimensional standards which specify building height, setbacks, etc. The purpose of zoning is to separate land uses to protect public health, welfare and safety:
How do I Change my Zone?
A zone change is required to meet the standards in Chapter 17.68 of the Oregon City Municipal Code. In order to assure this compliance, the application is reviewed by and subject to comment by City staff, the public, any interested party, the Planning Commission and the City Commission. Notice of the application includes a sign posted on the subject site, and notices posted online and mailed to all affected agencies and property owners within 300 feet to inform the public of the application and invite comments. Once the public comment period is over, a report including an analysis of how the proposal does or does not meet the criteria as well as a recommendation is completed by staff. A Planning Commission hearing will then be held where any interested party can testify regarding the application. After reading the report and listening to testimony, the Planning Commission (a 5-member voluntary board of citizens) votes on the application. If a majority of the Planning Commission denies the application, the zone change is denied. If a majority of the Planning Commission approves the zone change, a City Commission hearing would result. The City Commission (5 elected officials) listen to both written and oral testimony until the record is closed and they make the final City decision.