By: Will Van Vactor
Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 3 defines "agricultural land" to include:
- Lands classified by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as predominantly Class I-IV soils in Western Oregon and I-VI soils in Eastern Oregon;
- Land in other soil classes that is suitable for farm use as defined in ORS 215.203(2)(a), taking into consideration soil fertility; suitability for grazing; climatic conditions; existing and future availability of water for farm irrigation purposes; existing land use patterns; technological and energy inputs required; and accepted farming practices; and
- Land that is necessary to permit farm practices to be undertaken on adjacent or nearby agricultural lands.
The definition excludes lands within acknowledged urban growth boundaries or lands within acknowledged exception areas for Goal 3 or 4.
When agricultural zoning was initially applied, detailed consideration wasn't always given to each piece of property designated as agricultural. As a result, in many cases, there is a question about whether land should or should not be designated as agricultural.
Earlier this year, the Bend Bulletin reported on Deschutes County's efforts to clarify the definition. As reported, Deschutes County hopes to clarify what it considers agricultural land. County planners believe that much of what is currently designated as agricultural land is not in fact agricultural.
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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