Significant Natural Resources
Project Manager Michelle Miller, Senior Planner | 503-846-8101
Significant Natural Resources Assessment
The Draft SNR Assessment Program Review and Assessment is a comprehensive examination of Washington County's Goal 5 program as it relates to natural resources in the urban area.
The assessment was drafted as part of the 2018-19 Work Program. The Washington County Board of Commissioners identified the topic as a priority, based on community concerns regarding the County’s SNR protections in the development review process, particularly on lands with wildlife habitat.
Staff research included:
- Review of local, state and federal regulations and Land Use Board of Appeal (LUBA) decisions concerning significant natural resources.
- Review of the historical background of the County’s natural resource inventory, program and regulations.
- Review of the County's land use review processes.
- Stakeholder engagement including Community Participation Organizations (CPOs), developers and other interested parties to gather input and comments regarding the County’s SNR regulations.
- A five-week open house that included project backgroud, key findings, a timeline and survey.
- Review of land use decisions involving significant natural resources.
- Review of the County's tree removal and permit requirements.
About Significant Natural Resources
The County’s significant natural resources, including riparian areas, water areas, wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat, are shown in community plans and the Rural/Natural Resource Plan.
Statewide Planning Goal 5 requires local governments to identify significant natural resources and to adopt programs to protect and classify these important natural areas. The County inventoried locally significant natural resources, including fish and wildlife habitats, and adopted policies and standards in the early 1980s.
The Community Development Code Section 422 includes significant natural resource requirements for proposed development in the County’s urban unincorporated area. The regulations allow for limited development in areas with significant natural resources while providing appropriate protection or mitigation of impacts. If a proposed development interferes with or impacts a protected area, the developer must provide recommendations to reduce the impact and/or offset any loss of habitat.
Draft Program Review and Assessment Timeline
- December-January: report with comments and recommendations
- Dec. 5: Board Work Session presentation
- January-February: Discuss final recommendations with the Board