Public Land Use Sessions

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Owners of certain types of property in unincorporated areas of Columbia County will face new rules in 2021 and a series of public open houses next month will be used to outline the new rules.

According to a release from Columbia County, bills passed by the Oregon legislature in 2019 give further direction to property owners who wish to place new dwellings on land designated as primary forest, zoned PF 80. Additionally, properties in floodplains could be affected by new state and Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations.

Columbia County is offering a series of open houses throughout the county to explain the rules, some of which are in effect immediately. Rules applying to new dwellings planned for primary forest zones will go into effect November 2021.

Representatives from Columbia County’s Planning Division will be also be available to discuss proposed building setback changes for county zones within urban growth boundaries. The new rules will update the county’s zoning ordinance.

“If you own property in mapped floodplain areas, or if you own multiple parcels of land that are zoned by the state as Primary Forest, we recommend you attend one of the upcoming open house sessions,” Columbia County Planning Division Manager Matt Laird said.

Nearly 78 percent of Columbia County is zoned forest.

The sessions are informal and allow for property owners to speak directly with planners to learn more about how the rules will be applied. Copies of the new State of Oregon Model Floodplain Rules that will be applied to any new development within FEMA mapped flood hazard areas will also be available for review.

During the sessions, county representatives will also gather input on current public participation and citizen involvement techniques.

“We want to learn about residents’ preferred methods for communication with the county on land use matters,” Laird said.

Currently, the county uses its seven Citizen Planning Advisory Committees led by people who live or own property in their communities. Committee members are elected by their neighbors, and provide advice and recommendations on land use matters being considered by the Planning Division, the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.

The open houses will take place from 5–8 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Vernonia City Hall

1001 Bridge St.


Wednesday, Feb. 12

Clatskanie PUD

495 E Columbia River Hwy


Tuesday, Feb. 18

Rainier Transit Center

207 B St.


Tuesday, Feb. 25

Port of Columbia County

100 E St.

City of Columbia City

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Scappoose Library

52469 SE 2nd St.


For more information, contact Matt Laird at,, or call 503-397-7217.


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