OAR 660-004-0028
Exception Requirements for Land Irrevocably Committed to Other Uses


A local government may adopt an exception to a goal when the land subject to the exception is irrevocably committed to uses not allowed by the applicable goal because existing adjacent uses and other relevant factors make uses allowed by the applicable goal impracticable:


A “committed exception” is an exception taken in accordance with ORS 197.732 (Goal exceptions)(2)(b), Goal 2, Part II(b), and with the provisions of this rule, except where other rules apply as described in OAR 660-004-0000 (Purpose)(1).


For the purposes of this rule, an “exception area” is that area of land for which a “committed exception” is taken.


An “applicable goal,” as used in this rule, is a statewide planning goal or goal requirement that would apply to the exception area if an exception were not taken.


Whether land is irrevocably committed depends on the relationship between the exception area and the lands adjacent to it. The findings for a committed exception therefore must address the following:


The characteristics of the exception area;


The characteristics of the adjacent lands;


The relationship between the exception area and the lands adjacent to it; and


The other relevant factors set forth in OAR 660-004-0028 (Exception Requirements for Land Irrevocably Committed to Other Uses)(6).


Whether uses or activities allowed by an applicable goal are impracticable as that term is used in ORS 197.732 (Goal exceptions)(2)(b), in Goal 2, Part II(b), and in this rule shall be determined through consideration of factors set forth in this rule, except where other rules apply as described in OAR 660-004-0000 (Purpose)(1). Compliance with this rule shall constitute compliance with the requirements of Goal 2, Part II. It is the purpose of this rule to permit irrevocably committed exceptions where justified so as to provide flexibility in the application of broad resource protection goals. It shall not be required that local governments demonstrate that every use allowed by the applicable goal is “impossible.” For exceptions to Goals 3 or 4, local governments are required to demonstrate that only the following uses or activities are impracticable:


Farm use as defined in ORS 215.203 (Zoning ordinances establishing exclusive farm use zones);


Propagation or harvesting of a forest product as specified in OAR 660-033-0120 (Uses Authorized on Agricultural Lands); and


Forest operations or forest practices as specified in OAR 660-006-0025 (Uses Authorized in Forest Zones)(2)(a).


A conclusion that an exception area is irrevocably committed shall be supported by findings of fact that address all applicable factors of section (6) of this rule and by a statement of reasons explaining why the facts support the conclusion that uses allowed by the applicable goal are impracticable in the exception area.


Findings of fact and a statement of reasons that land subject to an exception is irrevocably committed need not be prepared for each individual parcel in the exception area. Lands that are found to be irrevocably committed under this rule may include physically developed lands.


Findings of fact for a committed exception shall address the following factors:


Existing adjacent uses;


Existing public facilities and services (water and sewer lines, etc.);


Parcel size and ownership patterns of the exception area and adjacent lands:


Consideration of parcel size and ownership patterns under subsection (6)(c) of this rule shall include an analysis of how the existing development pattern came about and whether findings against the goals were made at the time of partitioning or subdivision. Past land divisions made without application of the goals do not in themselves demonstrate irrevocable commitment of the exception area. Only if development (e.g., physical improvements such as roads and underground facilities) on the resulting parcels or other factors makes unsuitable their resource use or the resource use of nearby lands can the parcels be considered to be irrevocably committed. Resource and nonresource parcels created and uses approved pursuant to the applicable goals shall not be used to justify a committed exception. For example, the presence of several parcels created for nonfarm dwellings or an intensive commercial agricultural operation under the provisions of an exclusive farm use zone cannot be used to justify a committed exception for the subject parcels or land adjoining those parcels.


Existing parcel sizes and contiguous ownerships shall be considered together in relation to the land’s actual use. For example, several contiguous undeveloped parcels (including parcels separated only by a road or highway) under one ownership shall be considered as one farm or forest operation. The mere fact that small parcels exist does not in itself constitute irrevocable commitment. Small parcels in separate ownerships are more likely to be irrevocably committed if the parcels are developed, clustered in a large group or clustered around a road designed to serve these parcels. Small parcels in separate ownerships are not likely to be irrevocably committed if they stand alone amidst larger farm or forest operations, or are buffered from such operations;


Neighborhood and regional characteristics;


Natural or man-made features or other impediments separating the exception area from adjacent resource land. Such features or impediments include but are not limited to roads, watercourses, utility lines, easements, or rights-of-way that effectively impede practicable resource use of all or part of the exception area;


Physical development according to OAR 660-004-0025 (Exception Requirements for Land Physically Developed to Other Uses); and


Other relevant factors.


The evidence submitted to support any committed exception shall, at a minimum, include a current map or aerial photograph that shows the exception area and adjoining lands, and any other means needed to convey information about the factors set forth in this rule. For example, a local government may use tables, charts, summaries, or narratives to supplement the maps or photos. The applicable factors set forth in section (6) of this rule shall be shown on the map or aerial photograph.

Source: Rule 660-004-0028 — Exception Requirements for Land Irrevocably Committed to Other Uses, https://secure.­sos.­state.­or.­us/oard/view.­action?ruleNumber=660-004-0028.

Last Updated

Jun. 8, 2021

Rule 660-004-0028’s source at or​.us