The Sensitive Lands program is a set of land use regulations that protect environmentally significant streams, wetlands, and tree groves. The regulations apply to land within two types of overlay zoning districts. Significant stream corridors and wetlands are designated as Resource Protection (RP) Districts, and significant tree groves are designated as Resource Conservation (RC) Districts. A map of Sensitive Lands districts can be viewed online; click on the “Sensitive Lands Maps” link on the right for more information.
One of the City Council’s Action Plan items for 2013 was to revise the Sensitive Lands program. The Council developed an initial proposal to remove Sensitive Lands districts from private residential properties and use other methods to protect natural resources. Lake Oswego uses the Sensitive Lands program to comply with regional and state laws, so revisions to the program must meet the requirements of Metro’s Titles 3 and 13. In April 2013, Mayor Studebaker and Councilor Kehoe met with two Metro Councilors to discuss the proposal. Metro reviewed the proposal and prepared a response identifying several key issues that would need to be resolved in order for the proposal to meet regional and state requirements.
The City Council held a study session on Metro’s response and potential next steps on June 18, 2013. The Council directed staff to prepare a 12-month work program to accomplish the following tasks:
Updates on the status of the work program tasks are available below. For additional information about the proposed revisions to the Sensitive Lands program, please see the staff reports, initial proposal, and correspondence listed under Key Documents and Other Materials, below. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Christenson, the City’s Natural Resources Planner, at (503) 675-3990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 is available below under Key Documents. A copy of the staff presentation is available under Other Materials, and a video of the study session is available under Links (near the top of the page on the right).
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.
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.
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.