Zoning regulations control what land uses are lawful on any given piece of property in Oregon. For example, in an Exclusive Farm Use zone, the applicable zoning ordinance likely only permits farm-related uses, such as growing and harvesting crops, or accessory buildings used in conjunction with farm use.
Sometimes, though, certain uses don't fit neatly fit into the applicable zone. For instance, residential uses can be inconsistent with allowed uses in a commercial zone. However, some local jurisdictions might decide, given the right conditions, a mixed-use commercial./residential development should be permitted in a commercial zone. To allow a use that may otherwise be inconsistent with the underlying zoning or detrimental to a neighborhood, a local government might allow such use as a "conditional use".
By requiring a conditional use permit ("CUP"), a local government can control these uses by imposing conditions of approval. The conditions help ensure the use is made consistent with the neighborhood or community and/or that any negative impact is mitigated.
Before approving a conditional use, the local government may require a public hearing and consider such things as whether the site is large enough for the proposed use, is capable of handling projected traffic, and whether negative impacts can be mitigated,.
A conditional use varies from an outright permitted use in the sense that a permitted use is typically allowed as a matter of right. In other words, a plan to grow merchantable timber will not typically require land use approval from the local government in a Forest Zone. Other outright permitted uses might be allowed subject to site plan review. In any case, a conditional use will be reviewed more closely by the local government and is likely to be subject to conditions of approval that must be adhered to (and will likely add to the cost of development).
Every zoning ordinance varies, so what is allowed and what is required is different between local jurisdictions. A careful review of the zoning ordinance as it applies to your property should be made before developing any property.
Will Van Vactor has practiced law for over a decade and serves clients throughout Oregon. Will's practice focuses on land use and real estate. He works hard to understand his clients needs and to advocate on their behalf.
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