Citizen Involvement is Goal 1 for the Oregon Statewide Planning Goals and a critical component of making effective land use plans.  We have prepared a brief primer on how to give effective comment on land use matters.

  1. Read the materials provided.  This may include plans, staff reports, and other background materials.  This will help you familiarize yourself with the issues at hand, the relevant criteria and rules, and provide a foundation for you to structure your comments.
  2. Check where/when/how comment is being solicited to ensure you can deliver your comment on time and through the appropriate methods.
  3. Include your name, address, phone number/email.
  4. State your interest in the matter and who you represent (if just yourself, state that).
  5. Make a clear statement about what you would like the decision-making body to do.  That may be a proposal to rewrite a policy, add a condition of approval, or not adopt revisions.
  6. Cite specific, measurable impacts of the proposed project or plan amendments.  For example, instead of saying “this plan limits my property rights,” explain how the proposed plan places economic or other burdens on your property use.
  7. Connect impacts to criteria and rules. Most decision making bodies have specific rules or criteria they need to follow when issuing a decision and information outside these rules may be immaterial.  Criteria and rules are often listed in the staff reports and can give you insight into how decision makers will make their decision.
  8. Avoid hearsay or prophetic statements.  Avoid name-calling.  Avoid vague statements.
  9. Provide information, where available, that reveals gaps or errors in the staff’s findings and conclusions, or introduce new information.  Base conclusions on facts and data.  Cite sources as relevant.
  10. Provide specific and detailed text changes.  Be solution-oriented, where appropriate. Clearly identify in the text: where the issue or error is located, why you believe there is an error, and alternative ideas to address the issue/errors.
  11. Comments are not votes for and against a decision.  Decision-makers rely on criteria, rules, laws, and information/data, not the number of comments received.
  12. Avoid form letters.  Adding your unique take allows the decision-maker to understand your point of view.

If you are interested in testifying in person at any upcoming hearings, we also have a pamphlet produced by the Department of Land Conservation and Development available online called “How to Testify at Land Use Hearings.