Land Use Process
All applicants submitting Type 2, 3, and 4 applications are required to hold a meeting with staff prior to submitting an application. These meetings are optional for Type 1 submittals. Applicants may choose to forego the Pre-Application Conference for a Type 2 application by submitting a waiver with their application materials. The purpose of the pre-application conference is to acquaint the city, outside agencies and service providers with a potential application. Similarly, the Pre-Application Conference is intended to acquaint the applicant with the requirements of the Development Code, Comprehensive Plan, and other relevant criteria and procedures. Citizens are not allowed at these meetings but may read the notes from them in the application file once the application is submitted.
The city schedules and conducts the pre-application conference within 21 calendar days of receipt of a request for the meeting. If this 21-day period cannot be met, the application may be submitted without any penalty to the project applicant.
Neighborhood Review Meeting
Applicants for most Type 3 applications must hold a Neighborhood Review Meeting with neighboring property owners and NACs that are within a 500-foot radius of the property's boundaries. This meeting is important to attend because it allows neighbors, NAC representatives, and interested persons to become familiar with the proposal and to identify any potential issues.
The Neighborhood Review Meeting is held before an application is officially filed with the city. This provides the applicant with the opportunity to take the neighborhood's concerns and recommendations into consideration when preparing the land use application. By responding to the neighborhood's concerns, a proposal is more likely to be supported by the community.
Communication occurs directly between the applicant and neighbors. City staff is not involved with Neighborhood Review Meetings. City staff does not attend and may not even know that a Neighborhood Review Meeting is being held. The proposal may be dropped and never result in submittal of a land use application. It is important to watch for further notices to see if an application is filed for review by the city.
The applicant must mail notices and post a red sign on the property no less than 20 days before the meeting. The notices are mailed to property owners within 500 feet of the property. Requests for rezoning on individual properties and annexations do not require Neighborhood Review Meetings. The Development Code contains a list of requirements on how to hold a proper meeting; including notice standards, meeting location, meeting attendance, minutes and proceedings (see Development Code Section 50.30). It is wise to take your own notes at the meeting and compare them to the documentation provided by the applicant once the application is submitted to the city.
Once an application is submitted, State law requires city staff to conduct completeness review and provide a written response to the applicant within 30 days as to the application's status. If the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant is notified in writing and allowed 180 days from the original date of submittal to provide items necessary to deem the application complete. After the application is deemed complete, city staff will mail public notice to required parties for Type 2, 3 and 4 applications.
Once an application is complete, the city has 120 calendar days to render a final written decision on the application. The 120-day time frame includes local appeals. Only the applicant can extend the 120-day timeframe. If the applicant does not extend the 120-day requirement then the city may face legal action by not signing the final decision within 120 days.
The Facilities Review Committee reviews the proposal for conformance with the technical criteria, such as streets, utilities and fire.
The Facilities Review Committee is comprised of representatives from various city departments and outside agencies. Members of the Committee may include representatives from:
- Operations (Public Works)
- Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation
- Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District
- Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
- Various water districts
- Beaverton School District
These service providers review and provide written comments on the land use applications that come before them at Facilities Review meetings. The date of the Facilities Review meeting is included in the public notice. The public is invited to attend the Facilities Review Committee meeting, but may not provide testimony at the meeting.
Land use applications are generally heard before the Planning Commission. The decision maker's role is to judge whether an application meets the specific approval criteria relevant to the application under consideration. The applicant has the burden of proof to show that the application meets the criteria of the Development Code. The location of the approval criteria is listed by its Code section number in the public notice.
Staff reports are published at least seven days prior to the public hearing. The staff report includes a summary of the proposal and provides findings on how the proposal meets the applicable approval criteria. Staff's recommendation and proposed conditions of approval are typically listed at the end of the report. Staff reports are available online. The applicant's materials, maps and diagrams are only available at the Community Development Department.
Residents may become a party to the land use proceeding by providing written and/or oral testimony. Written testimony is most effective when it is submitted prior to publication of the staff report and can be reviewed by the Planning Commission before the public hearing. Written testimony received by the city after the date the staff report is published will still be part of the application's public record, but may not reach the Commission before the hearing.
The public hearing generally follows the order below:
- City staff gives their report
- Applicant testimony
- Testimony by organized groups such as NACs or other government organizations
- Testimony by individuals
- Applicant's rebuttal of testimony
- Final comments by city staff
- Deliberation by the ruling body
- Decision to approve (with or without conditions), deny, or continue the application.
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Commission may approve the application, approve the application with conditions, deny the application or continue the public hearing to a future date. If the Commission continues the hearing, they will set a date for the continuation of the hearing.
Land Use approvals "run with the land," meaning they are linked to the property rather than a person. If the property is sold, the land use approval is transferred to the new owner. The expiration dates for various land use applications can be found in the Development Code. The city can grant time extensions of land use approvals for certain applications. Public notice is provided for land use application time extension requests. If the expiration date passes without a request for time extension and substantial construction has not occurred on site, then the land use approval is no longer valid.
Land Use Orders
All decisions on Type 3 land use applications are memorialized in a Land Use Order (LUO). All persons who have provided written or oral testimony will receive a copy of the LUO. The 10 day appeal period begins the day that the LUO is signed and mailed.
Appeals to City Council
Decisions made by the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council, with the exception of appeals of Type 2 decisions, which are heard by the Planning Commission and may be appealed directly to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The city must receive a completed appeal form and fee, within 10 calendar days from the date the order was signed by the deciding body. Only the applicant or parties of record may appeal the decision.
Note that the grounds for the appeal must be relevant to the decision, and based on the approval criteria. A filing fee (amount set by the City Council) is due when the appeal is filed. Additional processing fees may be incurred if transcripts of hearings must be obtained.
The Council may decide to:
- Uphold the decision,
- Rescind the decision,
- Amend the decision, or
- Remand the decision to the deciding body.
A valid appeal must contain at least the following information:
- The file number for the decision being appealed (e.g. DR2016-0027).
- The name and signature of each appellant.
- Reference to oral or written evidence already given to the Planning Commission that is contrary to the decision.
- The appeal shall designate one person as the contact representative for all pre-appeal hearing contact with the city. All contact with the city regarding the appeal, including notice, shall be through this contact representative.
- The specific approval criteria, condition, or both being appealed, the reasons why a finding, condition, or both is in error as a matter of fact, law or both, and the evidence relied on to allege the error.
- The appeal fee, as established by resolution of the City Council.
Failure to comply with the above requirements may force the city to reject your appeal. Even if the city does not initially reject the appeal, an applicant may argue to City Council that the appeal is not valid and does not meet code. If City Council should agree that the appeal is invalid, they will not hear the appeal.
Once the City Council has heard an appeal, the decision is considered final. However, appeals may be made to the State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). This board is a state judicial body, which hears land use matters that are appealed beyond the local level. In order to appeal a decision, LUBA must receive a notice of intent to appeal within 21 calendar days after the City Council made the decision. Following this notice of intent, more extensive information must be submitted and a filing fee paid. Further information about appeals to LUBA, may be obtained from LUBA. See Section 7, Resources.