As if Oregon’s land use regulations were not complicated enough, the state is working on additional rules in order to slow climate change and be fair to “priority populations” such as racial and other minorities.
In line with Governor Brown’s executive order 20-04 issued a year ago, the state Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is launching a “rulemaking.” It wants “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve equitable outcomes for priority populations.”
Priority populations include African-American and indigenous people as well as other people of color, undocumented immigrants, people with disabilities, single parents, the poor, youth, seniors, and others.
Among other things, the new rulemaking is intended to reduce emissions from cars and trucks, promote more tree canopy to sequester carbon dioxide and provide healthier air, lessen the likelihood of gentrification from public or private investment, provide more “equitable transportation choices,” and lead to “adequate housing with access to employment, education, and culturally appropriate food, goods, services, recreational and cultural opportunities, and social spaces.”
All this is spelled out in an “equitable outcomes statement” from the DLCD describing the rulemaking project.
Carrying out these rules once they are in place will cost something. “Achieving these more equitable process (sic) and outcomes will require allocation of significant resources at the state and local level,” according the DLCD statement. “Increased investment in communities of priority populations is a required step.”
You might wonder how this program will change the mostly mundane but time-consuming process of getting a land use decision in places like Albany.
Could the city still simply annex a piece of undeveloped land that meets the criteria for annexation so that a developer can build a bunch of houses? Or would the planning staff first have to document the effect on priority populations? Would there be a standard to be met regarding “culturally appropriate food”? Would the city or the applicant have to prove that the action leads to an “equitable outcome”?
We’ll know the answer once these new rules come out. (hh)