It's BEH Client Seminar time again!

Beery Elsner & Hammond is pleased to offer a free seminar on September 13, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jenkins Estate in Beaverton, Oregon.  Topics will include discussions on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Koontz Decision (Exaction Issues), Land Use Fees and Land Use Decisions, HB 2254 and Goal 14/UGB Issues and Ex Parte, Conflict of Interest, Bias, Disclosures, Findings and Final Orders. We believe the seminar will prove beneficial to our clients’ managers, planners and planning staff, as well as elected and newly appointed officials.  Our goal is to provide our clients and others in the public sector with valuable information that will assist in carrying out public services.

Registration and a buffet breakfast prepared by Jenkins Estate will be provided at 8:00 a.m..  If you are interested in taking advantage of this free opportunity, please RSVP by Friday, August 23, 2013, to Cherrie Houston at (503) 226-7191 or cherrie@gov-law.com.  In the mean time, feel free to contact us with any questions.

We hope to see you on September 13!

Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission Accepting Applications for Citizen Panel

Oregon’s land use system is premised on 19 “goals” that represent the state’s official policy on a wide range of topics affecting the use of land.  The first goal is citizen involvement.  Goal one seeks to ensure that Oregon residents have a full voice in the planning process.  Towards that end, the state agency responsible for overseeing Oregon’s land use program, the Land Conservation and Development Commission, is now accepting applications for individuals to serve on its Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee.  Readers will find more information regarding the opportunity here. We encourage persons interested in shaping the future of Oregon’s land use system and wanting to volunteer for a worthy cause to apply for one of the open positions.  The deadline for applying is February 28.

Can Dollars and Cents Mitigate Development Impacts?

Elegant is not a word one generally associates with land use law. For instance, in attempting to mitigate the effects a given project has on neighbors and other stakeholders, many planning commissions have spent many a late (late) night attempting to divine whether a given project is “timely” or “reasonably compatible” with neighboring uses. Typically, conditions of approval are slathered on what was originally proposed and, more often than not, these conditions go a Texas-mile further than the applicant ever expected and not nearly far enough for those impacted by the development. Basically, everyone leaves unsatisfied. What if the subjective process of balancing these competing interests were jettisoned in favor of a simpler, bottom-line approach to mitigating the impacts of development? A recent article in the Economist newspaper asks this question. It is an interesting read and we would love to hear your thoughts on it. Could it be done, and if so, should it? Send us your thoughts in the "Contact Us" form in the bar to the left.

Solar Energy System Installation Regulations Change Under New Legislation

Planning officials would do well to review their zoning and development codes to ensure compliance with new legislation signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber in June.  The bill, HB 3516, establishes the installation and use of solar photovoltaic energy systems or solar thermal energy systems on residential or commercial buildings as outright permitted uses in any zone where such structures are an allowed use.   One of the issues raised during legislative hearings on the bill focused on the sometimes difficult and costly permitting process that accompanies the permitting process for solar energy systems. The bill also establishes that approval of solar system permits are a “ministerial function” if installation can be accomplished: (1) without increasing the footprint of the residential or commercial structure; (2) without increasing the peak height of the section of the roof where the system is located; and (3) where the energy system is mounted so that the plane of the system is parallel to the slope of the roof.

Cities and Counties are also prohibited from collecting land use permit application fees or requiring extensive surveys or site evaluations for solar energy system permit applications.  However, those entities are allowed to charge building permits pursuant to ORS 455.020, 455.210 and 455.220.

The ministerial function, application fee, surveying and evaluation provision restrictions will not apply to solar energy systems located on residential or commercial structures that are federally or locally designated historic buildings, landmark or conservation landmarks, located in a historic district or located in an area designated as a significant scenic resource unless the material used is designated anti-reflective or 11 percent or less reflective.

HB 3516 goes into effect January 1, 2012.