In 2011, Senate Bill 960 allowed counties to adopt new provisions, in whole or in part (or not at all) to allow for additional types of activities and events, in conjunction with farm use.  These were categorized as “agri-tourism” uses and designed to be related to and in support of agriculture.

During Wasco County 2040 (in 2018), we asked community members to consider the options (include agritourism provisions, limit provisions, or not allow) and the overwhelming support was to allow for agritourism uses and activities without additional restrictions above what is in state law.

These uses will be added to Wasco County’s Exclusive Farm Use Zones (A-1 (160) and A-1 (40) regulations in the Land Use and Development Ordinance (LUDO).  They are exclusive to state law, and therefore the National Scenic Area would not be eligible for these additional uses.

The language Wasco County will adopt into the LUDO will be taken directly from Oregon Revised Statutes 215.283(4).

Staff has heard early feedback that some residents are concerned about increased wildfire risk and nuisance issues as a result of agritourism.  It is possible, that in addition to the rules set forth in state law, that the following be added:

a).  fire safety requirements or the requirement applicants submit a wildfire mitigation plan with their application. These might include plans for onsite water storage when outside a rural fire protection district, contracting with a rural fire protection district for the duration of the event, or other measures.

b). notification requirements so that on an annual basis, the farm must notify Wasco County and adjacent properties of all events for the upcoming year.

The intent of this additional criteria would be consistent with other parts of the Comprehensive Plan and also help mitigate conflict or wildfire risk. What do you think?

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