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

The Sensitive Lands program is being updated in 2015. For more information, please go to the Natural Resources Program and Sensitive Lands Revision page (LU 15-0019)

Note: A link to the interactive sensitive lands map is available, click here.

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 following is a tentative timeline (subject to change):

January 12, 2015
Planning Commission public work session on alternative approach for Wildlife Habitat protections (Metro Title 13), and update on Water Quality Resource Areas proposal reviewed (Metro Title 3) – carried over from December 8, 2014.

Public Discussion Draft of Natural Resources Program revisions, including Healthy Ecosystems Chapter of Comprehensive Plan, and replacement of Sensitive Lands regulations.

Planning Commission work session.

Planning Commission hearing.

City Council study session.

City Council hearing.

Status Updates: 

December 18, 2014
On September 16, 2014, the City Council directed staff to prepare a series of interim Sensitive Lands code amendments. (See LU 14-0053) The City Council approved those changes and enacted Ordinance 2658 on December 16, 2014, amending LOC 50.05.010 and 50.07.004. The purpose of the interim amendments was to clarify and streamline the code with regard to utilities, fences, landscaping, lighting, map corrections, and delineation of resource district boundaries as the City continues to work on program reforms. The following opportunities were available for public comment on the proposed 2014 code changes:

  1. Comment period on a “Public Discussion Draft”, September 18-30.
  2. Planning Commission work session, October 13 (the Commission was unable to finish the work session and continued it to October 27). Please refer to Staff Memo under "Key Documents" below, dated October 2, 2014, which includes citizen comments received thru October 27.
  3. City Council study session, October 21.
  4. Planning Commission public hearing, November 10.
  5. City Council public hearing, December 2.

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 ssiegel@ci.oswego.or.us.

October 2014
The City is proceeding with amendments to the Sensitive Lands Code, including interim code changes to be adopted in 2014, and the overall program reforms described below, which are scheduled for adoption in 2015.

On June 10, 2014, Council provided feedback on a draft framework of the new program. On July 29, the Council received further information and provided direction on how to best coordinate the proposal with the City’s compliance with the Clean Water Act. The timeline was extended to allow for an analysis of water quality compliance this fall when updated topographic maps will be available, to ensure the new program meets federal, state, and regional requirements.

In the interim, at its September 16 meeting, the City Council directed staff to prepare a series of code amendments to address problems with the current Sensitive Lands regulations. The intent is to focus on changes that can be adopted this year. While the 2014 amendments draw upon the above framework, they are meant to be temporary; they are to be replaced by the overall program reforms next year.

For information on the proposed 2014 code changes, please refer to Land Use Case:

LU 14-0053

For information updates on the overall program reforms, please check back to this page as it will be updated periodically.

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.

Project Details
PP 12-0002
City of Lake Oswego
Project Contact: 

Scot Siegel, Director of Planning and Building Services, (503) 699-7474 or ssiegel@ci.oswego.or.us.

Related Meetings

Dec 8 2014 - 6:30pm

Oct 13 2014 - 6:30pm

Related Links Attachments Neighborhoods

City Wide