If you take our quick, seven minute survey you will read one of the questions relates to setbacks in Wasco County. In land use, a setback is the minimum distance which a building or structure must be set back from different parts of the property, including property lines, streets, waterways and other buildings.

After feedback from citizens, staff conducted a comparison between Wasco County setbacks and setbacks in other rural Oregon counties:

setbacksw

Wasco County has some of the largest setbacks of residential development from adjacent farm use in the state.  The purpose of these setbacks are to reduce conflict between residential use and farm use.  This is, in part, due to farming practices like pesticide spraying, dust from haying, noise from equipment, and dust and noise from vehicles.  As the chart above demonstrates, other Oregon counties have elected to keep smaller setbacks and differentiated between the rear, side, and front yards of development.

In addition to setbacks, Wasco County also requires new development sign a waiver acknowledging adjacent farm/forest activity.  The waiver is both meant to serve as an educational effort and to reduce conflict.  Some Wasco County residents have expressed that they think this required waiver is enough to raise awareness and mitigate conflict, and that they would like to see the setbacks between farm use and housing reduced.

Early results from the survey indicate mixed sentiment related to setbacks; 38% would like to see them maintained, 32% reduced, and 6% would like to see the setbacks increased.

Staff is continuing to collect feedback on setbacks to evaluate a path forward and we encourage everyone to submit comments or take our brief survey to share your thoughts!