Fire Siting Standards Code Amendment (SB 762)

Fire Siting Standards Code Amendment Project:

The Fire Siting Standards Code Amendment project involves updating Forest Zone land use regulations that relate to protecting development from wildfire. The Board of County Commissioners (Board) has directed staff to update codes related to road and driveway standards in consideration of fire district equipment access, fire fuel break and water supply requirements, and to explore creation of an overlay zone for high fire risk areas.

The project scope and timeline has been significantly influenced by the passing of Senate Bill (SB) 762 on July 19, 2021, which requires a broad range of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to wildfire risk mitigation. Deliverables of the bill are to be completed by various State agencies and have specific timelines.

Of note, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is required by SB 762 to adopt statewide wildfire risk maps. These maps were adopted in June of 2022, in accordance with the timelines of SB 762. However, in in August of 2022, ODF rescinded the maps due to lack of public involvement in their initial creation. Statewide wildfire risk maps and the associated tasks of SB 762 have the potential to greatly influence the progression of the Fire Siting Standards Code Amendment project. Therefore, staff are tracking the creation of wildfire risk maps and the various deliverables required by SB 762, how they may influence the scope and timeline of the Fire Siting Standards project and evaluating how this project can proceed in consideration of the bill. As such, this project is on hold pending action by ODF to adopt wildfire risk maps.

Project History:

June 21, 2016:  

Planning staff held a work session before the Board to discuss potential policy changes to Lane Code Chapter 13, Chapter 14, and Chapter 16 resource zones. During this work session, the Board directed staff to draft clear and objective criteria for siting dwellings in resource zones.

Fall of 2018:  

The Board reviewed proposed amendments to Lane Code 16.210 and 16.211 as part of the Model Code Resource Zone Update project. There were concerns raised about general siting standards and fire-safety siting standards during the public hearings and deliberations.

January 15, 2019:  

The Board adopted Ordinance No. 18-08 with the current siting standards language (Lane Code 16.210 and 16.211). Subsequently, the Board directed staff to return for a work session to discuss resource zone siting standards. 

March 19, 2019:  

At a work session, the Board directed staff to research siting standards related to wildfire safety and return for another work session to present potential code amendments options that could help mitigate wildfire risks in hazardous areas throughout Lane County.

August 27, 2019:  

Staff presented multiple code amendment options to the Board. The Board supported drafting code amendments on the following topics: road and driveway standards, modernization of fuel break requirements, minimum water supply requirements for firefighting purposes, removal of the requirement that a local fire district sign off on a new driveway, and the creation of an overlay zone for high fire risk areas.

August 25, 2020:  

Staff returned to the Board to provide an update on the fire-siting standards project. At this work session, staff proposed to break the project into two phases. The first phase would include updates to the forest zone fire-siting standards (defensible space, road and driveway standards, and water supply), while the second phase involves identifying defensible space standards for all zones, countywide.

June 26, 2021:  

The Oregon Legislature passed SB 762 that affected fire-siting standards project by potentially altering the minimum fire-siting standards that are required for forest zone development and by requiring defensible space requirements outside of the forest zones following a specific methodology. The bill contains a broad range of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to wildfire risk mitigation. Mainly, the bill includes requirements for the State to adopt a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) risk map by June 30, 2022 and defensible space standards for certain risk mapped areas by December 31, 2022.  

February 8, 2022:  

Staff held a work session with the Board introducing SB 762 and discussing implementation of the bill and its effects on the fire siting standards code update project. Following the passing of this bill, staff had identified the need to revisit scoping for the fire-siting standards code update project. A change in the phases and deliverables, as well as the project timelines of the fire siting standards code update project, was necessary in order to incorporate the requirements of SB 762 and due to the timelines necessitated by the bill.

Staff Contact: 
Questions or written testimony to be included in the public record may be submitted in writing to:

Rachel Serslev, Senior Planner
Email: [email protected]