2017 Oregon Legislative Updates

The 2017 Legislative Session has been a busy one thus far! Over 200 land use related bills were introduced, all of which can be found here on the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (OAPA) legislative tracking sheet. (Note that bills that appear in gray are dead but are included here for reference.) Some bills address more common themes, such as the annexation process and allowable uses in resource zones. Some less common bills have been introduced as well, including Senate Bill 865 regarding irrigation district plat signing. Unsurprisingly, housing has been a hot topic this legislative session with a number of bills introduced that touch on housing in some form or another. Several bills addressed accessory dwelling units (ADUs), including Senate Bill 340, Senate Bill 1024, House Bill 2937, House Bill 2938, and House Bill 3012. Of these bills, only HB 3012 is still alive, which would permit the owner of at least two acres of land zoned rural residential to construct a new dwelling if the owner converts the existing home to an ADU.

Another housing-related bill that is continuing to move through the legislative process is House Bill 2007, which pertains to the application process for developments with affordable units in urban growth boundaries. Members of the the Legislative and Policy Affairs Committee have been working with the bill’s sponsors on amendments that we believe will clarify and strengthen the bill. Many OAPA members still have concerns regarding the bills impact on design review and historic districts. In addition to HB 2007, which is currently in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, we are continuing to closely monitor the following bills:

  • Senate Bill 432: As written, SB 432 would allow rural counties that have not experienced population growth between federal decennial censuses to adopt a comprehensive land use plan without complying with the statewide land use goals. The bill had a public hearing and work session in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and was referred to the Senate Committee on Rules on April 19 without recommendation as to its passage. OAPA opposes this bill.
  • Senate Bill 865 would require city or county governing bodies to submit a notice of tentative plan for subdivision or partition plats to certain special districts for district approval. SB 865 passed out of the Senate on April 19 and is now in the House Committee on Energy and Environment. It is scheduled for a public hearing and work session on Wednesday, May 10 at 3PM. OAPA opposes this bill.
  • House Bill 2023 would amend the definition of high-value farmland in a viticulture area. The bill proposes two word changes pertaining to water rights, which could have unintended consequences. It is currently in the House Committee on Rules and had a work session scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at 3PM. OAPA opposes this bill.
  • House Bill 2039 relates to annexation by vote. The bill proposes that that votes from city and territory to be annexed be combined to determine single majority if territory to be annexed includes less than 100 acres. The bill passed out of the House on April 24 and is currently in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources with a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 1. OAPA opposes this bill.
  • House Bill 2315 proposes that corporate excise tax credits allowed to lenders that finance affordable housing not be barred by receipt of housing vouchers by tenants. The bill passed the House on April 5 and is now in the Senate Committee on Human Services. OAPA supports this bill.
  • House Bill 3245 would permit a city to authorize the planning commission or hearings officer to conduct hearings and make decisions on applications for amendments to city comprehensive plan map. This bill could impact the cost of appeal fees, so OAPA opposes the bill as currently written. It passed the House on May 2 and is now in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Lastly, we are also paying close attention to the transportation funding package. The proposal, which was announced on May 8, would raise $8 billion in funding for transit, roadway, and infrastructure improvements over a 10 year period. OPB reports that some funding sources under consideration include levying highway tolls in the Portland area and raising registration fees on more fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as a gas tax hike. It is anticipated the the bill will receive House consideration in mid-June, followed by Senate consideration soon thereafter. The proposal has already gained media traction by a number of outlets, including The Oregonian, which provided an overview of the bill and its outlook, and the Willamette Week, which reported that the assumptions about the need to widen freeways are built on “shaky ground.” Namely, the article posits that Oregon experienced substantial population and economic growth without increasing vehicle-miles-traveled overall. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping an eye on it as well as it moves through the legislative process.

All testimony submitted by the OAPA on bills that we have been tracking can be found here.

Coming Up!

We will be providing a legislative update at the Planning Skills Workshop in Eugene this week (May 18-19). Register here for the workshop!

We will also be scheduling a webinar in July to discuss outcomes after the 2017 Legislative Session wraps up on July 9th. Stay tuned for more information!

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