Skip to Main Content
Planning Banner

PP 12-0002: Proposed Revisions to the Sensitive Lands Program

Project Description


The Commission will accept comments during the first 10-15 minutes of the work session. 

The Planning Commission will review and provide direction on proposed amendments to the Community Development Code as it relates to Sensitive Lands in LOC 50.05.010, Sensitive Lands Overlay Districts, and LOC 50.07.004, Additional Submission Requirements. These amendments are interim code changes that are intended to address problems with the existing regulations while the City implements the overall Sensitive Lands reforms in 2015.


The Sensitive Lands program is a set of land use regulations that protect streams, wetlands, and tree groves. Currently the regulations apply to approximately ten percent of properties in the City of Lake Oswego. A City Council goal for 2014 is to “adopt changes to the Community Development Code to implement the reform of regulations on sensitive lands,” reducing the regulatory burden on private property owners. Toward that end, the City is proposing to replace the sensitive lands regulations with a new Natural Resource Protection Program that:

  • Aligns the City’s regulations for stream and wetland protection with minimum Metro Title 3 requirements;
  • Increases protection of riparian and upland wildlife habitat (Metro Title 13) resources on public property and private open space tracts; and
  • Replaces Title 13 regulations on private property with incentive-based programs.

 A draft framework of the new Natural Resource Protection Program was presented to the City Council on June 10, 2014, and the Council provided preliminary feedback about how to revise and move forward with the proposal. In July, the Council received additional information on how to best coordinate the proposal with the City’s compliance with Clean Water Act requirements – specifically, with the requirement to maintain tree cover and riparian vegetation to shade streams and protect water quality.

Before the proposed revisions can be put into place, the City will perform a detailed analysis and make any needed adjustments to ensure the new Natural Resource Protection Program meets federal, state, and regional requirements. To perform this analysis, the City will model the impact of the proposed program using new topographic data, which will become available this fall. As a result, the timeline for completing the Sensitive Lands revisions has been extended into 2015.

The City Council also directed staff to prepare a series of interim Sensitive Lands code amendments for adoption in 2014. The purpose of the interim amendments is to address obvious problems with the existing code as soon as possible, as the City continues to work on program reforms. The following opportunities are available for public comment on the proposed 2014 code changes:

  1. Comment period on this “Public Discussion Draft”, September 18-30 (see paragraph below). Written comments the City receives by 11am on September 30 will be included in the materials packet for the October 13 Planning Commission work session.
  2. Planning Commission work session, October 13
  3. City Council study session, October 21
  4. Planning Commission hearing, November 10
  5. City Council hearing, December 2

 A copy of the Public Discussion Draft is available under "Key Documents" below. To receive a hard copy of the document from the Planning Department free of charge, please visit the reception desk on the third floor of City Hall.

If you have any questions about the ongoing revisions to the Sensitive Lands Program or the interim code amendments, please contact Scot Siegel, Director of Planning and Building Services, at (503) 699-7474 or


June 2014
In January, the City Council directed staff to draft revised regulations for streams and wetlands and to provide recommendations for a voluntary, incentive-based approach to protect tree groves and other wildlife habitat areas. Since then, a technical team comprised of City staff and Councilor Hughes has developed draft revisions to the Sensitive Lands program. The revisions are to replace the current Sensitive Lands Program with a comprehensive Natural Resource Protection Program that is more responsive to the characteristics and needs of our community. The revisions are intended to maintain compliance with Metro and State planning requirements while involving more of the community in resource stewardship.

The Council will hold a special study session about the potential revisions to the Sensitive Lands program on Tuesday, June 10. The public is invited to attend to learn about the potential changes. The meeting will start at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 380 A Avenue.

A copy of the council report (including attachments) for the study session is available on the City Council Study Session webpage, under the "Links" tab on the upper right of this webpage. Attachments include the proposed draft code for the revised regulatory program for streams and wetlands and a description of the proposed voluntary, incentive-based program for protection of tree groves and wildlife habitat areas. All maps, code, and proposed revisions are working drafts that will be refined and finalized according to Council direction provided in the study session.

January 2014
On January 7, the City Council received an update on the Sensitive Lands work program. The purpose of the study session was to provide findings from work program tasks that were completed between July and December, and to receive Council direction on next steps for revisions to the Sensitive Lands program. The Council reviewed information about how other jurisdictions in the region comply with Titles 3 and 13; discussed Title 3 requirements for regulations on many streams and wetlands; discussed options for the “alternative approach” for Title 13 compliance; and received an update on staff’s meetings with Metro and DLCD. The Council also discussed how to proceed with the free map correction process.

The Council directed staff to develop draft code and map revisions for Metro Title 3 streams and wetlands, specific recommendations for an alternative approach to Metro Title 13 compliance, and options for a voluntary conservation easement program. The Council also directed staff to postpone the free map correction process until after the Sensitive Lands program is revised, in order to focus staff time and budget resources on the program revisions.

A copy of the staff report for the study session and the staff presentation are available under Other Materials, and a video of the study session is available under Links (near the top of the page on the right).


November 2013
On November 18, staff selected ESA Vigil-Agrimis (ESA VA) as the top proposer for the map corrections process.

On November 19, staff provided the City Council with a status update on the work program. Task 1, the letter to property owners regarding the 2008 Sensitive Lands study, was complete. Tasks 2 through 4 were in progress. For additional information about the status of each task, please see the copy of the staff report below under Other Materials.

October 2013
Proposals for consultant assistance with the map correction process were due on October 17. Two proposals were received, and staff interviewed both teams on October 31 and November 1.

September 2013
On September 23, the City issued a Request for Proposals for a consultant to assist with corrections to the Sensitive Lands Atlas.

On September 30, letters were sent to all Sensitive Lands property owners to inform them that the City is offering a free map correction process. Copies of the letters and the application for review are available below under Other Materials.

August 2, 2013
Letters were sent to all property owners whose properties include a stream, wetland, or tree grove that was proposed to be added to the Sensitive Lands map in 2008, explaining that the property is no longer being considered for Sensitive Lands designation. Copies of the letters are available below under Other Materials.


PP 12-0002


Planning Project


City of Lake Oswego

Contact Us

Scot Siegel, Director of Planning and Building Services, (503) 699-7474 or

Related Meetings

Mon, Oct 13 6:30pm