Planning and Zoning News
Election SignsAs we near the height of the election campaign season, Planning Division staff would like to clarify that the Marion County Zone Code does not specifically regulate election signs, separate from any other sign. A property owner is allowed, under current sign regulations, to erect one temporary sign not exceeding six square feet and 30 inches above grade visible for 60 days, twice per year. Please note these regulations apply only to signs on private property and outside any city limits.
If you have any questions on signs outside city limits, please call the Marion County Planning Division at (503) 588-5038.
Expanded Provisions for Replacement Dwellings in the Exclusive Farm Use Zone - HB2746
The Oregon Legislature recently passed House Bill 2746, which became effective January 1, 2014. This bill expands the provisions for replacement dwellings and intended, primarily, to enable farm properties with deteriorated dwellings to replace them even after they are no longer structurally sound. Key provisions of this bill include:
· Allows dwellings to be replaced that have or “formerly had” structural integrity, where certain requirements are met. “Formerly had” may mean that the dwelling is no longer present or that it has deteriorated to the point that it no longer has structural integrity. · The dwelling to be replaced has been assessed as a dwelling for purposes of ad valorem taxation for either the previous five years or, if the dwelling was erected sooner than that, from the time the dwelling was erected. · Provides an exception to the requirement of tax assessment as a dwelling if the dwelling was destroyed through no fault of the owner, or if the dwelling was demolished for purposes of restoration. In such cases, the dwelling must have been assessed as a dwelling until the date of destruction or demolition. · Adds siting standards for replacement dwellings for units that cannot currently meet the standards for structural integrity. Replacement dwellings for units that can currently meet these standards are not subject to these siting standards. · Changes the period in which dwellings to be replaced must be demolished, removed or converted from three months to one year, unless the structure is deemed to be unsafe or an attractive nuisance, in which case action may be required within 90 days. · Provides that permits for replacement dwellings that have lapsed are deemed valid if exercised within one year of the effective date of the bill. · Sunsets all HB2746 provisions on January 2, 2024. At that time, previous replacement dwelling provisions will be reintroduced.
Changes to the County Rural and Urban Floodplain Overlay Zones
To conform with recent changes in federal law, the Marion County Board of Commissioners amended the Marion County Code floodplain overlay zones. The definitions of substantial damage and substantial improvement were changed, exemptions to regulations (particularly those pertaining to certain types of fences and small structures) were included, and the urban code was amended regarding structures exempt from elevation certificate requirements.
Substantial Improvement/Substantial DamageThe County’s definitions of “substantial improvement” and “substantial damage” determine when a property that is being remodeled or rebuilt after being damaged is required to be brought up to current floodplain standards. When the threshold of substantial improvement or substantial damage is met, the existing structure must be brought up to current flood resistant standards. Generally, this could include elevating the first floor, installing openings in the foundation, and using flood resistant materials.
“Substantial improvement” means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred “substantial damage,” regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:
(1) Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions or
(2) Any alteration of a “historic structure,” provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a “historic structure.”
“Substantial damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
The Board of Commissioners found that adopting the federal definition of 50% provides the correct balance between requiring homeowners to make existing structures safer from flooding and acknowledging the expense to homeowners of making a dwelling compliant with current floodplain development standards.
ExemptionsAccording to FEMA, certain lateral additions are not considered substantial improvements to an original structure if no structural modifications are made to the common wall or roof of the original building. Marion County has chosen to continue to apply this policy and certain lateral additions do not require the existing building be considered substantially improved and modified to meet current floodplain development standards.
Development Not Requiring an Elevation CertificatePreviously, the County had amended the Rural Floodplain Overlay Zone to exempt certain types of structures from the requirement to obtain an elevation certificate. This is based on guidance from FEMA of structures for which federal law does not require an elevation permit. The Board adopted the same change into the Urban Floodplain Overlay Zone to be consistent and to ensure requirements are the same for property owners whether they are developing in the urban or the rural area of the county.
Unless requested by FEMA, elevation certificates would not be required for the following uses:
1. Water dependent uses, such as boat ramps, docks, wells and well covers.2. Improvements resulting from cut or fill operations, such as berms, bank improvements, ponds and dams.3. Small scale facilities necessary to serve other uses, such as kiosks and open picnic shelters. 4. Grading, such as for roadways, even where alteration of topography occurs.
Fore more information, contact the Planning Division at (503) 588-5038