Changes to commercial energy facility regulation at the state level necessitates a review and revision to Chapter 19 of the Land Use and Development Ordinance (LUDO). It is anticipated most of the revisions will focus on changes made to permitting solar facilities (photovoltaic) resulting from updates to state law. There will additionally be some new, required notification requirements for large projects, and some changes to definitions impacting energy facilities.
In addition to coordination with partner organizations through notification, Wasco County was also awarded a grant from the Department of Defense to evaluate potential encroachment issues impacting military airspace over Wasco County. Typically, the encroachment is for projects exceeding 100′, or commercial energy projects and communication or meteorological towers. This new overlay zone should have minimal impact to more common uses that occur in Wasco County like farm, forest, and residential uses.
Wasco County will be working with several key partners to adopt a new military airspace overlay zone to ensure for early coordination with the US Military, Oregon Department of Aviation, and the Federal Aviation Administration. There may also be some other mitigation needs to reduce other interference, like with lights or radio frequencies, but should not result in prohibition of any uses. This coordination is required by federal and state law.
Staff have also had some citizen interest in making residential solar projects easier and more cost effective to permit. One idea we are exploring is to no longer require permits for simple roof mounted residential solar panels. Take our poll below to let us know what you think!