The Springfield City Council has authorized the City Attorney’s Office to retain special legal counsel to assist with filing a legal challenge to new State rules if implemented as anticipated during their July 21-22 meeting.
Oregon’s Land Conservation Development Commission plans to adopt permanent rules to meet the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04, known as Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities, which is intended to address issues of climate change and equity. However, this rulemaking process has failed to reach its objectives and, as written, will adversely affect communities.
“The City Council and I want to see progress on climate change and equity issues,” said Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon. “However, the proposed rules are deeply flawed, inconsistent and too rigid. For two years, Springfield and other stakeholders have identified significant issues that have gone unaddressed. LCDC needs to take more time and identify more resources. These issues should be taken to the legislature directly instead of mandated by executive order.”
Among the issues with the as-written rules are impacts to housing, business and commercial development and transportation. The rules make it harder to add housing at a time when the Springfield community and communities throughout the state are facing a housing crisis. These requirements will limit housing types and homeownership opportunities and increase costs of housing construction in the mandated climate friendly areas.
Additionally, the City has been working to ensure development standards in the City are easier to comply with and more flexible to encourage development. The State’s new rules are so detailed it would make commercial development and the development process more cumbersome and expensive.
Available funding from the State to implement these new legally required processes would not adequately meet the costs to implement the rules at the local level.
The Land Conservation and Development Commission plans to adopt permanent rules during the July 21-22 meeting that include only minor adjustments to the temporary rules the Commission adopted on May 19.
Springfield staff continue to collaborate with other affected jurisdictions and interest groups to seek more significant changes to the rules through conversations with state staff and through other avenues.
In the likely event that the Land Conservation Development Commission adopts permanent rules on July 21 without addressing the City’s significant concerns, the City Attorney’s Office will retain special legal counsel to assist with filing a legal challenge to these rules.