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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN JOSEPHINE COUNTY

Written by the Land Use Committee on 08/25/05

Oregon’s Agricultural Land Use Policy

Agricultural Lands Agricultural lands shall be preserved and maintained for farm use, consistent with existing and future needs for agricultural products, forest and open space and with the state's agricultural land use policy expressed in ORS 215.243 and 215.700.1

ORS 215.243 Agricultural Land Use Policy The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

Agricultural Lands In Josephine County, Oregon

ORS 215.700 Resource Land Dwelling Policy The Legislative Assembly declares that land use regulations limit residential development on some less productive resource land acquired before the owners could reasonably be expected to know of the regulations. In order to assist these owners while protecting the state’s more productive resource land from the detrimental effects of uses not related to agriculture and forestry, it is necessary to:

(1) Provide certain owners of less productive land an opportunity to build a dwelling on their land; and

(2) Limit the future division of and the siting of dwellings upon the state’s more productive resource land.

Agricultural Land In western Oregon agricultural land is land of predominantly Class I, II, III and IV soils, and other lands which are suitable for farm use 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, or accepted farming practices.1

Farm Use — ORS 215.203.2

RLDC The Josephine County Rural Land Development Code’s definition of farm use is the same as ORS 215.203(2)(a) (pages 1-4 through 1-5).

High Value Farmland

ORS 215.710(1) - High-Value Farmland

(1) For purposes of ORS 215.705, high-value farmland is land in a tract composed predominantly of soils that, at the time the siting of a dwelling is approved for the tract, are:

(a) Irrigated and classified prime, unique, Class I or Class II; or
(b) Not irrigated and classified prime, unique, Class I or Class II.

(2) In addition to that land described in subsection (1) of this section, for purposes of ORS 215.705, high-value farmland, if outside the Willamette Valley, includes tracts growing specified perennials.

OAR 660-033-0020(9) "(9) "Irrigated" means watered by an artificial or controlled means, such as sprinklers, furrows, ditches, or spreader dikes. An area or tract is "irrigated" if it is currently watered, or has established rights to use water for irrigation, including such tracts that receive water for irrigation from a water or irrigation district or other provider. For the purposes of this division, an area or tract within a water or irrigation district that was once irrigated shall continue to be considered "irrigated" even if the irrigation water was removed or transferred to another tract. "

More Information. Would you like to learn more about citizen involvement in land use planning? Contact a member of the Land Use Committee of the Hugo Neighborhood.

1 OAR 660-015-0000(3); OAR 660-033-0020. Class I, II, III and IV soils in Josephine County are identified in USDA, Soil Conservation Service, Soil Survey of Josephine County, Oregon, December 1983.

2. Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society. 2003. Profit In Farm Use & Irrevocably Committed. Hugo, OR.

 

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