- Oregon land use specialists believe that the present
definitions of farm and forest land in the state planning
goals are too broad. This results in poor quality resource
lands being as strongly protected as those of top quality.
With persistent growth pressure on rural lands, a means to
distinguish among primary, secondary and nonresource lands
must be developed so that these areas may be zoned for the
uses for which they are best-suited.
The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission
established a Rural Lands Advisory Committee in 1985 to
study the resource lands problem. The committee is
considering using a form of the U.S. Soil Conservation
Service Land Evaluation and Site Assessment System to make
the distinction among resource categories. Based on the
experience of Marion County, Oregon, such an application of
the system appears to be feasible. At least five other
states have adopted some form of a statewide evaluation
system, but, such a system could be more difficult to
develop in Oregon because of the state's size, agricultural
diversity and complex land use planning process.
There are several ways in which the Land Evaluation and
Site Assessment System can be used in the Oregon land use
program. To be most effective, the system should be
developed and implemented at a regional or county level with
close supervision by the Department of Land Conservation and
Development. No matter what level of government is
responsible, there are a number of technical and political
issues that must be resolved before the system can be used
in the Oregon program. Resolution of the problems hinges on
thoughtful guidance by the Department and is necessary for
consistent and justifiable results.
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