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Measure 56 Notices

1. Why did I get a notice?
The City determined that any property owner that lives within 200 feet of a water resource, such as a creek, stream, or wetland, may be affected by the proposed regulations.  Thus, all property owners who live within 200 feet of a water resource received notice of the proposed community development code changes to the Water Resource Area (WRA) chapter.

2. What is a Measure 56 notice?
In the November 1998 general election, Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 56 (M 56). The measure requires cities and counties to provide affected property owners with notice of a change in zoning classification; adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan; or adoption or change of an ordinance in a manner that limits or prohibits previously allowed uses.

3. What is a Water Resource Area (WRA)?
A WRA comprises all streams, wetlands and adjacent riparian areas. 

4. Why do we need to protect WRAs?
Legal. To be in compliance with Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 5, which relates to natural resources; cities in the Metro area are required to adopt land use regulations that address water quality and flood management (Metro Title 3) and protect fish and wildlife habitat (Metro Title 13). 

Maintaining water quality.  Wetlands cleanse water by filtering or settling sediment and absorbing and breaking down excess nutrients and toxic substances. The vegetated areas along streams also filter pollutants that may otherwise reach the stream.  This helps to maintain water quality at levels that will sustain fish and wildlife.
Flood mitigation.  Wetlands and the vegetated areas around streams absorb and store storm water that might otherwise result in flooding and erosion.

Wildlife habitat. Wetlands and riparian areas provide a variety of habitats that support birds, mammals, amphibians and fish.  Riparian areas along streams produce trees that eventually fall into the stream where they form pools and provide shelter for rearing fish. The vegetation also shades the water body which helps to maintain water temperatures needed to sustain fish and other aquatic life. 

Recreation/Aesthetic Value. Wetlands and stream corridors provide open space, scenic areas and, in some instances, recreational opportunities such as hiking and wildlife viewing. 

5. The notice says the proposed changes “may change the value of my property”.  What does that mean?
For most people who live in, or near, a WRA, and do not plan any additions to their homes or buildings, the proposed changes will have no effect.  Interior remodels and structural replacements within the same footprint are exempt.  For people who plan to expand the footprint of their homes or buildings, it will generally, but not always, increase their development options. People who have vacant undeveloped property over 17,000 square feet in size will also see an increase in their development options. 

6. Can you give me some examples of how you propose to change or improve the WRA chapter?
Yes, the proposed chapter is intended to:

  • Simplify the review process.
  • Eliminate the use of the Public Works Department’s Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) map to identify WRAs.  The SWMP is a utility plan and is not concerned with identifying WRAs.  By adopting a map specific to WRAs we can avoid confusion as to whether a property is affected by the WRA chapter.
  • Make reasonable allowances to develop for owners of “hardship” properties that are partially or completely within the WRA.
  • Provide continued protection of the resources. 
  • Add the option for property owners to create WRA boundaries specific to their property based on findings by wetland biologists or similarly trained professionals. 
  • Include Metro’s “Habitat Friendly Development Practices”.  Property owners can make simple modifications to their development proposals to improve water quality and habitat protection (e.g. use of water permeable pavers). 
  • Exempt Temporarily Disturbed Areas (“TDAs”)  from counting against the maximum amount of water resource area that a property owner can develop when a WRA permit is issued.  TDAs are areas that are completely restored to natural grade and re-vegetated with native plants after the property is developed and disturbance is caused to the area.
  • Increase exemptions from the permitting process.
  • Change how we delineate the WRA.  The WRA is based on the slope adjacent to the creek, stream or wetland. The table below contrasts the existing method with the proposed method. 


7. Who should I contact if I have more questions specific to my property?
Please contact Peter Spir, Associate Planner, by e-mail at , by phone at 503-723-2539 or schedule a visit at the Planning Department, West Linn City Hall.

8. How can I participate in the process?
The Planning Commission Public Hearing on the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 15, 2014.  The Council will also hold a public hearing after it receives the Planning Commission’s recommendation.  Citizens can contact Peter Spir at or (503) 723-2539 for further information.  Information is also available on the City’s website at: