FAQ - Current Planning

Applications

Q.
Can I do anything so my application is processed faster?

A. The short answer is no. Strict time limits are set for each land use application. Therefore, staff has to process applications in the order received.

Q.
How long does it take to process an application?

A. The State give Current Planning 120 days to process a decision for Urban land use applications and 150 days to process rural land use applications. These time limits begin when staff has determined that the application contains all the information needed to check for compliance with the Community Development Code, which can take 30 days.

Q.
What happens if my application is incomplete?

A. During the 30 day completeness review period, staff determined that the information provided is insufficient to address all applicable standards of the code. The next step is to report your intentions regarding the application with Current Planning. You can either withdraw your application and receive a refund minus the cost of administrative processing, OR you can state that you intend to provide the missing information and resubmit. If you choose to resubmit you have 180 days to provide the required information. Once the information is resubmitted, staff will check again for completeness.

Business

Q.
Do I need a Business License to conduct a business in my home?

A. The Short answer is no. Washington County does not issue business licenses. However, there is a required Home Occupation Land Use Review to ensure that the establishment of a business within a home does not negatively impact the surrounding area. More information can be found on the "Home Occupation" link on the Development Application Forms provided to the left.

Fees

Q.
What if I can't afford to file an application?

A. There are fee waivers available for those who have economic hardships. The Fee Waiver policy can be located within the Fee Policies link of the Fee section.

Q.
Why are land use applications so expensive?

A. The Current Planning Division is a fee supported division. This means that the division is funded through the fees it collects from development applications, and is not funded through the tax based general fund. As a result, the fees for applications pay for everything involved with processing the application which includes, but is not limited to staff's time researching materials, drafting the report, visiting the property, office materials, electricity, etc.

Permit

Q.
Do I need a permit to cut down a tree?

A. Permits to cut down a tree are required when the tree is located within the Urban Growth Boundary and is within an area designated as a Significant Natural Resource. Permits are also required to cut down trees if preservation of a tree(s) was required as a condition of approval of from a previous land use approval.

Structures

Q.
How high can I build a fence?

A. Fences can be build along the sides and rear of the property up to 6 ft in height without a building permit. Any height above that requires a permit and the Building Division determines the maximum height. 

Q.
My neighbor has built a structure without a permit, does this mean I can as well?

A. Most Development requires a land use decision, a building permit, or both. If you know your neighbor is constructing a building without a permit they may be in violation of the Development Code. If this is the case the County requests that you file a Code Compliance Complaint so the violation can be brought into compliance.

Zoning

Q.
The use I want is not allowed, can I change my land use zone?

A. Applications for zone changes are handled by the Long Range Planning Division as a Type IV Plan Amendment application.