County Planning

ORS 215.243
Agricultural land use policy

The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:


Open land used for agricultural use is an efficient means of conserving natural resources that constitute an important physical, social, aesthetic and economic asset to all of the people of this state, whether living in rural, urban or metropolitan areas of the state.


The preservation of a maximum amount of the limited supply of agricultural land is necessary to the conservation of the state’s economic resources and the preservation of such land in large blocks is necessary in maintaining the agricultural economy of the state and for the assurance of adequate, healthful and nutritious food for the people of this state and nation.


Expansion of urban development into rural areas is a matter of public concern because of the unnecessary increases in costs of community services, conflicts between farm and urban activities and the loss of open space and natural beauty around urban centers occurring as the result of such expansion.


Exclusive farm use zoning as provided by law, substantially limits alternatives to the use of rural land and, with the importance of rural lands to the public, justifies incentives and privileges offered to encourage owners of rural lands to hold such lands in exclusive farm use zones. [1973 c.503 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Where substantial evidence supported county commissioners’ finding that proposed subdivision of parcel of agricultural land would promote more intensive farming and greater overall agricultural production than single parcel, state wide planning goal 3 did not require that agricultural lands be used for full-time farming where such farms were not economically viable and where smaller, part-time farms were consistent with existing agricultural enterprise in area. Meeker v. Board of Commissioners, 36 Or App 699, 585 P2d 1138 (1978), aff’d 287 Or 665, 601 P2d 804 (1979)

This section is clearly aimed at preservation of existing commercial farming operations. Meyer v. Lord, 37 Or App 59, 586 P2d 367 (1978)

Where county board of commissioners approved subdivision but did not address policy ramifications of this section order approving subdivision was legally insufficient under ORS 215.213. Still v. Bd. of County Commrs of Marion Co., 42 Or App 115, 600 P2d 433 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

General unsuitability for farm use must be based on entire tract, not only on part on which dwelling would be located. Smith v. Clackamas County, 103 Or App 370, 797 P2d 1058 (1990), aff’d313 Or 519, 836 P2d 716 (1992)

Statute is not exclusive listing of public purposes that exclusive farm use zoning statutes are adopted to further. Nelson v. Benton County, 115 Or App 453, 839 P2d 233 (1992)

Uses permitted conditionally under either ORS 215.213 or 215.283 cannot be absolutely prohibited by this section, rather, effect must be given to both statutory provisions, if possible. Clark v. Jackson County, 313 Or 508, 836 P2d 710 (1992)

Law Review Citations

53 OLR 123 (1974); 36 WLR 441 (2000); 49 WLR 411 (2013)


Last accessed
May 26, 2023