What’s a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a state required, big picture policy and implementation document designed to help guide decisions about land use planning in Wasco County. Using the framework of State Land Use Planning Goals, Wasco County 2040 will be a twenty year vision of what we want Wasco County to look like…and policies and strategies to help us achieve those goals.

Check out our brief video explaining Comprehensive Plans here: https://youtu.be/Hom9Smw4IlQ

Or check out the two page fact sheet we created for this portion of the update process.

Why Are We Updating Our Plan Now?

Although we have had some revisions to our 1983 Comprehensive Plan over the last 30+ years, the community and leadership have identified the need for a full revision. Community members have been vocal in expressing the need for updated policy direction that meets the needs of Wasco County into the future.

We are also using this opportunity to hear feedback about our land use planning processes and in turn, share the story about the impact land use planning has had on Wasco County over the last 30+ years.

What’s the Process?

Wasco County was approved by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) in January 2017 to enter Voluntary Periodic Review.  This is a statutorily defined process that can last up to a maximum of three years and includes oversight from state staff.

We have developed a rough timeline to indicate the major milestones of the three year project:

WC2040Timeline (1)

Are There Rules and/or a Plan I Can Read and React To?

We are in the beginning phases of the update process, so the best place to start is with the current Comprehensive Plan.

We are looking for feedback and guidance from stakeholders and the public on which goals, policies, and implementation tools and strategies need updates.  We anticipate that not every policy or implementation strategy/tool will need to be changed, and so we want to focus conversations on what we do need to update.  The State of Oregon asks that we focus on these top priority areas in updating our plan: economic development, housing, transportation, public facilities and services and urbanization.  For Wasco County, that means also addressing goals related to Agriculture, Forestry and Recreation.  One really easy way to give us the initial feedback we need is to take our visioning survey or attend one of our upcoming community meetings (kicking off in May).

Staff anticipate beginning to draft policy and implementation in 2018 based on the feedback we get over the next six months.

How Can I Participate?

We have developed a variety of in person participation opportunities.  Check out upcoming events here.  You can also participate online by taking our current survey , signing up for updates on news and events, or sharing with your friends and neighbors through social media.

What is the Outcome?

We hope to develop a readable, easy to understand document that will help guide planning staff, partners, and the community towards our shared vision of Wasco County.  We anticipate many of the new policies will inform an update to the Land Use and Development Ordinance and other implementation tools and strategies.

The process to update the Land Use and Development Ordinance, based on recommendations during the Wasco County 2040 update, is expected to kick off in 2020. That process will involve several work sessions and public hearings with the Planning Commission, and drafts of proposed new language will be available at that time on the Wasco County website and at the Planning Department.

What is the Impact to My Land?

Because we are currently at the visioning phase of the project, we are hoping to hear from you about how you would like the policies and implementation tools/strategies to impact your property.  The list of current policies and implementation tools/strategies we use in administering our program gives a great example of some of the land use planning techniques used in the past.

Many of the land use planning rules we administer through our Land Use and Development Ordinance are state legislated rules that we are required to follow.  However, there are some aspects of our criteria or regulations that are unique to Wasco County.  Once we identify some policy directions based on the visioning process, we will be able to generate some suggested solutions and modifications to our existing implementations (like the LUDO rules) to help us achieve community goals.  That’s why its really important to participate throughout the process and help us develop the clearest picture of your hopes and visions for the future of Wasco County!

An easy way to start is to take our visioning survey or attend one of our upcoming community meetings (kicking off in May).

We hope that future impacts will be positive, and ensure a healthy and successful future for our amazing County!