Mineral/Aggregate Regulations (Quarries)
Contact: Anne Kelly, senior planner | 503-846-3583
A local supply of mineral and aggregate material is essential to many construction projects, particularly for road construction and maintenance. According to Washington County and the Oregon Department of Transportation staff, the supply is insufficient to address demand driven by regional infrastructure projects and economic growth. The County is undertaking a two-phase process to review and revise our regulations to increase access to needed materials.
Phase One – 2017 Ordinance Season
An ordinance in 2017 will allow mineral/aggregate quarries in the Exclusive Forest Conservation (EFC) district, subject to a Special Use (SU) review and conditions. Existing County standards require a different review process, and address only large quarries that can be determined “significant” aggregate resources, based on state thresholds (including a 2 million ton supply minimum).
Significant sites are afforded protections from impacts of off-site uses under state law. Proposed SU standards would provide a path for approval of quarries that don’t meet state minimums for special protection as significant resource sites, but may still provide feasible sources of needed mineral/aggregate. SU quarry approval would be subject to conditions requiring protection of nearby uses from potential impacts of quarry operations, including requirements that the quarry would not significantly elevate fire risk, increase the expense of fire suppression or increase the cost of farm/forest operations on nearby properties.
Future Phase Two
County staff will take a broader look at standards for those significant quarries that don’t fully reflect current state law provisions. Amendments to the County’s regulations to address these issues may be considered as a future Work Program tier 2 task.
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- Ordinance No. 824, amending the Community Development Code standards to allow a new Special Use (SU): Special Mineral/Aggregate Mining and or/Processing in the Exclusive Forest and Conservation (EFC) District was adopted 9/5/17 - effective 11/24/17.
See the 2017 Land Use Ordinance page for a list of hearing dates, times, and materials for all land use ordinances filed or adopted in the 2017 ordinance season.