This bill allows rural county with no population growth, and certain local governments in county, to adopt comprehensive land use plan without complying with statewide land use planning goals until population growth invalidates their qualification for the exception.
This bill is patterned after Washington's Growth Management Act, a set of laws enacted in 1990 in reaction to Oregon's difficulty implementing 1973 SB 100 centralized land use system. Their compromise allows small, non-growing counties to opt out of compliance and continue to retain local land use planning authority. In Washington, 10 counties have opted out and after 27 years of experience there was no difference in growth patterns. It isn't a threat, it's a choice for qualified counties and once they grown the exception is terminated. Counties must still maintain a comprehensive plan.
This bill would apply to 8 counties: Harney, Malheur, Baker, Wallowa, Grant, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler. These counties are in a population decline spiral, high unemployment and poverty, which doesn't attract businesses. This bill isn't the end-all answer, but it will give counties the ability to control at least one aspect of growth to accommodate of opportunities.