2015 ORS 215.130¹
Application of ordinances and comprehensive plan
  • alteration of nonconforming use

(1) Any legislative ordinance relating to land use planning or zoning shall be a local law within the meaning of, and subject to, ORS 250.155 (Application of ORS 250.165 to 250.235) to 250.235 (Retention of petition materials).

(2) An ordinance designed to carry out a county comprehensive plan and a county comprehensive plan shall apply to:

(a) The area within the county also within the boundaries of a city as a result of extending the boundaries of the city or creating a new city unless, or until the city has by ordinance or other provision provided otherwise; and

(b) The area within the county also within the boundaries of a city if the governing body of such city adopts an ordinance declaring the area within its boundaries subject to the county’s land use planning and regulatory ordinances, officers and procedures and the county governing body consents to the conferral of jurisdiction.

(3) An area within the jurisdiction of city land use planning and regulatory provisions that is withdrawn from the city or an area within a city that disincorporates shall remain subject to such plans and regulations which shall be administered by the county until the county provides otherwise.

(4) County ordinances designed to implement a county comprehensive plan shall apply to publicly owned property.

(5) The lawful use of any building, structure or land at the time of the enactment or amendment of any zoning ordinance or regulation may be continued. Alteration of any such use may be permitted subject to subsection (9) of this section. Alteration of any such use shall be permitted when necessary to comply with any lawful requirement for alteration in the use. Except as provided in ORS 215.215 (Reestablishment of nonfarm use), a county shall not place conditions upon the continuation or alteration of a use described under this subsection when necessary to comply with state or local health or safety requirements, or to maintain in good repair the existing structures associated with the use. A change of ownership or occupancy shall be permitted.

(6) Restoration or replacement of any use described in subsection (5) of this section may be permitted when the restoration is made necessary by fire, other casualty or natural disaster. Restoration or replacement shall be commenced within one year from the occurrence of the fire, casualty or natural disaster. If restoration or replacement is necessary under this subsection, restoration or replacement shall be done in compliance with ORS 195.260 (Duties of local governments, state agencies and landowners in landslide hazard areas) (1)(c).

(7)(a) Any use described in subsection (5) of this section may not be resumed after a period of interruption or abandonment unless the resumed use conforms with the requirements of zoning ordinances or regulations applicable at the time of the proposed resumption.

(b) Notwithstanding any local ordinance, a surface mining use continued under subsection (5) of this section shall not be deemed to be interrupted or abandoned for any period after July 1, 1972, provided:

(A) The owner or operator was issued and continuously renewed a state or local surface mining permit, or received and maintained a state or local exemption from surface mining regulation; and

(B) The surface mining use was not inactive for a period of 12 consecutive years or more.

(c) For purposes of this subsection, "inactive" means no aggregate materials were excavated, crushed, removed, stockpiled or sold by the owner or operator of the surface mine.

(8) Any proposal for the verification or alteration of a use under subsection (5) of this section, except an alteration necessary to comply with a lawful requirement, for the restoration or replacement of a use under subsection (6) of this section or for the resumption of a use under subsection (7) of this section shall be subject to the provisions of ORS 215.416 (Permit application). An initial decision by the county or its designate on a proposal for the alteration of a use described in subsection (5) of this section shall be made as an administrative decision without public hearing in the manner provided in ORS 215.416 (Permit application) (11).

(9) As used in this section, "alteration" of a nonconforming use includes:

(a) A change in the use of no greater adverse impact to the neighborhood; and

(b) A change in the structure or physical improvements of no greater adverse impact to the neighborhood.

(10) A local government may adopt standards and procedures to implement the provisions of this section. The standards and procedures may include but are not limited to the following:

(a) For purposes of verifying a use under subsection (5) of this section, a county may adopt procedures that allow an applicant for verification to prove the existence, continuity, nature and extent of the use only for the 10-year period immediately preceding the date of application. Evidence proving the existence, continuity, nature and extent of the use for the 10-year period preceding application creates a rebuttable presumption that the use, as proven, lawfully existed at the time the applicable zoning ordinance or regulation was adopted and has continued uninterrupted until the date of application;

(b) Establishing criteria to determine when a use has been interrupted or abandoned under subsection (7) of this section; or

(c) Conditioning approval of the alteration of a use in a manner calculated to ensure mitigation of adverse impacts as described in subsection (9) of this section.

(11) For purposes of verifying a use under subsection (5) of this section, a county may not require an applicant for verification to prove the existence, continuity, nature and extent of the use for a period exceeding 20 years immediately preceding the date of application. [Amended by 1961 c.607 §2; 1963 c.577 §4; 1963 c.619 §9; 1969 c.460 §1; 1973 c.503 §2; 1977 c.766 §5; 1979 c.190 §406; 1979 c.610 §1; 1993 c.792 §52; 1997 c.394 §1; 1999 c.353 §1; 1999 c.458 §1; 1999 c.1103 §10]

Notes of Decisions

Property owner acquires vested right to proceed with construc­tion of nonconforming use if, prior to enact­ment of adverse zoning, he has made substantial beginning of construc­tion or if substantial costs toward comple­tion of job have been incurred. Clackamas County v. Holmes, 265 Or 193, 508 P2d 190 (1973)

In determining whether prop­erty owner has acquired vested right to nonconforming use, court shall consider various factors enumerated. Clackamas County v. Holmes, 265 Or 193, 508 P2d 190 (1973)

Ques­tion of whether landowner has proceeded far enough with proposed construc­tion to have acquired vested right to nonconforming use is issue of fact to be decided on case-by-case basis. Clackamas County v. Holmes, 265 Or 193, 508 P2d 190 (1973)

Local comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and amend­ments thereto are subject to local initiative and referendum when the plan, ordinance or amend­ment is legislative in nature; overruling Tatum v. Clackamas County, 19 Or App 770, 529 P2d 393 (1974). Allison v. Washington County, 24 Or App 571, 548 P2d 188 (1976)

Where quarry opera­tions con­ducted on federally-owned prop­erty had diminished to no more than incidental use at time prop­erty was zoned for farm-forestry use, purchasers of prop­erty were not entitled to operate quarry as nonconforming use. Lane County v. Bessett, 46 Or App 319, 612 P2d 297 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Where use of land prior to enact­ment of zoning ordinance was sporadic and intermittent, it gave rise to permitted nonconforming use limited to sporadic and intermittent use that existed prior to enact­ment of zoning ordinance. Polk County v. Martin, 292 Or 69, 636 P2d 952 (1981); Warner v. Clackamas Co, 111 Or App 11, 824 P2d 423 (1992)

Unless or until new city incorporated within acknowledged urban growth boundary adopts its own plan providing otherwise, new city must comply with acknowledged plan and imple­menting land use ordinances for geographic area of which it is part. City of Salem v. Families for Responsible Govt., 298 Or 574, 694 P2d 965 (1985)

This sec­tion means that newly incorporated city remains under county comprehensive plan, including designa­tions as rural land, until city adopts own plan and urban growth boundary. 1000 Friends of Oregon v. Wasco County Court, 299 Or 344, 703 P2d 207 (1985)

Provision in city's plan that county's plan would apply until territory was annexed did not constitute elec­tion by city to make its own plan applicable when its plan provided that its zoning designa­tions of unincorporated areas were recommenda­tions. Multnomah County v. City of Fairview, 96 Or App 14, 771 P2d 289 (1989)

Where county's decision on comprehensive plan map amend­ment was not complete at time that affected area was annexed to city, this sec­tion did not authorize city to complete pro­ceed­ings and take ac­tion to finalize county's decision. Standard Ins. Co. v. City of Hillsboro, 97 Or App 625, 776 P2d 1313 (1989)

Nonconforming use status depended on whether various opera­tions share common use, not nature of business con­ducting use. Hendgen v. Clackamas County, 115 Or App 117, 836 P2d 1369 (1992); 119 Or App 55, 849 P2d 1135 (1993)

Subsec­tion permitting replace­ment of nonconforming building if destroyed by natural disaster does not prohibit replace­ment of nonconforming building not destroyed by natural disaster under subsec­tion permitting altera­tion. McKay Creek Valley v. Washington County, 122 Or App 28, 857 P2d 184 (1993)

Establish­ment of "rebuttable presump­tion" of continuous nonconforming use requires county to prove lack of continuity by preponderance of evidence. Lawrence v. Clackamas County, 164 Or App 462, 992 P2d 933 (1999)

Vested right to complete nonconforming use is subject to loss through abandon­ment or discontinuance in same manner that nonconforming use is subject to loss. Fountain Village Develop­ment Co. v. Multnomah County, 176 Or App 213, 31 P3d 458 (2001)

Decision rejecting nonconforming use applica­tion under pre-1999 law does not prevent filing sub­se­quent applica­tion under 1999 amend­ment limiting nonconforming use verifica­tion to 20-year period preceding applica­tion date. Lawrence v. Clackamas County, 180 Or App 495, 43 P3d 1192 (2002), Sup Ct review denied

Altera­tion of nonconforming use to comply with "lawful require­ment" is permitted only in situa­tions where altera­tion is necessary to comply with specific or immediate directive by govern­mental authority. Cyrus v. Deschutes County, 194 Or App 716, 96 P3d 858 (2004)

To verify nonconforming use, peti­tioner must prove existence, continuity, nature and extent of nonconforming use for specified period of time preceding applica­tion date and must prove that nonconforming use was lawful at time zoning ordinance or regula­tion went into effect. Aguilar v. Washington County, 201 Or App 640, 120 P3d 514 (2005), Sup Ct review denied

This sec­tion does not apply to nonconforming use regula­tion by cities. City of Mosier v. Hood River Sand, Gravel and Ready-Mix, Inc., 206 Or App 292, 136 P3d 1160 (2006)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Effect of county zoning ordinances on approved subdivision plat, (1973) Vol 36, p 702; referendum power against a county "comprehensive plan" or a zoning ordinance, (1974) Vol 36, p 1044; non-home rule county courts or com­mis­sions general legislative powers, (1974) Vol 36, p 1070

Law Review Cita­tions

4 EL 297 (1974); 68 OLR 976, 984 (1989)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Non "home rule" county courts or com­mis­sions general legislative powers, (1974) Vol 36, p 1070

Chapter 215

Notes of Decisions

Published notice is adequate if prop­erty owners can reasonably ascertain that prop­erty in which they hold interest may be affected. Clackamas County v. Emmert, 14 Or App 493, 513 P2d 532 (1973), Sup Ct review denied

Statutory scheme es­tab­lishing LCDC and granting it authority to es­tab­lish state-wide land use planning goals does not unconstitu­tionally delegate legislative power where both standards (under this chapter) and safeguards ([former] ORS 197.310) exist. Meyer v. Lord, 37 Or App 59, 586 P2d 367 (1978)

Where county had not yet adopted comprehensive plan but had zoned certain por­tions "primarily agricultural," county had not enacted adequate interim measures to protect its agricultural land until exclusive farm use zoning was completed. Columbia County v. LCDC, 44 Or App 749, 606 P2d 1184 (1980)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Fasano v. Bd. of County Commrs., applica­tion to county governing bodies and planning com­mis­sions, (1974) Vol 36, p 960; binding effect on govern­mental agencies of the adop­tion of interim Willamette River Greenway boundaries, (1975) Vol 37, p 894

Law Review Cita­tions

36 EL 25 (2006)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 215—County Planning; Zoning; Housing Codes, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors215.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 215, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano215.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.