Planning Process in Washington County
Who is responsible for long range planning in Washington County?
- Washington County Board of Commissioners, five elected officials who are the County's ultimate decision-making body for planning policy related to land use and transportation.
- Planning Commission - an advisory body
consisting ofnine members appointed by the Board of Commissioners for four-year terms. The Planning Commission advises the Board on legislative planning and development issues such as the adoption, revision or repeal of any Comprehensive Plan elements, including implementing regulations such as the Community Development Code. For certain types of quasi-judicial plan amendments, the Planning Commission makes the land use decisions for the county. These decisions may be appealedto the Board of Commissioners.
- Department of Land Use & Transportation's (LUT) Long Range Planning section - Long Range Planning section within the Planning and Development Services Division
is organizedinto two groups that develop and implement policy recommendations in their related areas; Community Planning and Transportation Planning. The Long Range Planning section develops planning policies that are implementedvia the Community Plans, the Transportation System Plan, and the Community Development Code.
How does the Long Range Planning section organize its work?
The annual Long Range Planning Work Program is a key planning document that outlines tasks necessary to keep the Comprehensive Plan in conformance with regional, state and federal law. These responsibilities include direct involvement with the community, organizations, cities and affected county and state agencies.
The Community Planning group is responsible for upkeep of the county's Comprehensive Plan, including revisions to the Community Plans and the Community Development Code (CDC). Other major responsibilities include
Community Planning also processes boundary changes for special service districts, including annexations and extra-territorial service line extensions.
The Transportation Planning group's primary responsibility is preparing and periodically updating the long-range county Transportation System Plan (TSP). Other duties include working with the cities of Washington County, Metro and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on regional transportation issues and initiatives, travel forecasting, oversight and coordination of the countywide Transportation Development Tax (TDT), bicycle and pedestrian planning, and planning support for LUT's Capital Project Management section, Road & Bridge Engineering section and Operations and Maintenance Division.
This group also coordinates monthly Washington County Coordinating Committee (WCCC) meetings, providing local elected officials with a regular forum to discuss transportation issues. Transportation planning activities include considerable involvement and discussion with county interest groups and residents.
How an idea/topic can
be introducedinto the planning process
There are multiple ways
ideas and suggested tasks are introducedinto the planning process;
- Community input, often via the Community Participation Organizations (CPOs) and their leadership group, the Committee for Community Involvement (CCI);
- State and regional requirements for coordination and compliance;
- Board of Commissioners and Planning Commission input;
- Input from county staff charged with implementing the long range community plans; and
- input from special service districts and the development community.
Annual Work Program
Each year the Long Range Planning section of Planning and Development Services prepares a draft Work Program for approval by the Washington County Board of Commissioners. The Work Program describes planning projects, potential land use ordinances, and other Long Range Planning activities for the year.
The draft annual Work Program
is presentedto the Board of Commissioners at the beginning of each year and is then releasedto the public and interested parties for review and comment in early spring and is then postedonline. At the Board's request staff may prepare an issue paper to aid the Board in making a decisionabout the Work Program. Upon consideration of availableresources and public comments submitted throughout this process, the Board of Commissioners finalizesthe Work Program for adoption soon after.
Land Use Ordinances
A Land Use Ordinance adopts, amends, or repeals
The Washington County ordinance season runs annually from March 1 through Oct. 31.
Staff regularly communicates throughout the ordinance season the status of an ordinance, scheduled public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners and adoption of land use ordinances. Subscribe to the Land Use Ordinances Update e-newsletter.
Quasi-Judicial Plan Amendments
Quasi-Judicial plan amendments usually involve requests to amend the community plan maps and land use designation for a specific parcel. Quasi-judicial plan amendments differ from legislative plan amendments (i.e., land use ordinances) in that they involve a
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