Planning and Land Use
Planning and Land Use is responsible for reviewing land use applications, enforcing Vernonia's Land Use and Development Code, as well as long-range planning and floodplain management.
Planning office hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10:00am - 5:00pm or by appointment.
Land Use and Development Code
Vernonia's land use laws are codified in Title 9 Land Use and Development. Title 9 contains the development regulations for residential and commercial development, flood zones, and more. It also contains the administrative rules for enforcing Title 9, and reviewing land use applications.
Following the 2007 flood, the City of Vernonia enacted a strict flood hazard reduction ordinance. These measures ensure exisiting and future development is done is such a way as to mitigate and reduce damage from flood events in Vernonia.
Is my home or property located in a flood zone?
Do I need a Floodplain Development Permit?
All activities in flood zones are required to submit a Flooplain Development Permit. This includes all building, fences and placement of fill in the floodplain, e.g. gravel, soil, etc. Contact Ben Fousek at 503.429.5291 x104 or email@example.com to discuss the activity, and assistance with submitting a Floodplain Development Permit. There is no fee for submitting a Floodplain Development Permit.
Why does the City take floodplain management so seriously?
After the December 2007 flood, the State of Oregon and FEMA invested tens of millions of dollars in flood recovery and mitigation. This included not only the clean up costs, but raising homes, buying out substantially damaged properties, building a new school, moving West Oregon Electric out of the flood zone, upgrading the sewer lagoons, establishing better emergency preparedness and response, and much more. In return, FEMA simply asks the City mitigate future flood damage by enforcing flood hazard reduction policies. By not enforcing these regulations, the City risks higher flood insurance rates for everyone. Or if the City intentionally and repeatedly ignored these regulations, FEMA could stop providing flood insurance in Vernonia. The City has an obligation to all our citizens to mitigate and be prepared for flood events, and most importantly protect home and business owners' ability to aquire flood insurance at the best rates.
In 2001 the City conducted a Local Wetland Inventory to locate potential wetlands. The Oregon Department of State Lands has jurisdiction and regulates these wetlands. The City checks for wetlands as part of most planning reviews. In the event a proposed development may impact wetlands, the City requires the applicant to provide a wetland delineation and report through the Department of State Lands.