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Development Review/Current Planning FAQs

Development Review/Current Planning employees get a lot of questions from the community. We've compiled a list of the most common questions and responses below.

Got a question? There's a good chance someone else has had the same question. The questions below are among those most frequently asked of our staff. The answers apply to locations within unincorporated Washington County. For questions concerning properties located within cities, visit the relevant city websites. 

Answers to these FAQs are general in nature and may not be conclusive for a particular property. Resource Overlays, conditions of approval from prior applications and right-of-way determination, for example, may affect certain allowances.

Don't see your question below? Email us: [email protected]

FAQs

Accessory structures (play structure, trellis, shed, etc.) are required to meet setback requirements from property lines. Waivers are not permitted. Each land use district (zone) in the County has unique setback requirements. Building permits may be required for accessory structures. Contact Current Planning/Development Review for details.

Construction noise is allowed between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. To report crews generating noise outside these hours, file a complaint with Health & Human Services code enforcement.

A fence over seven (7) feet high requires a building permit and must meet setbacks. A retaining wall over four (4) high requires a building permit. Fence and wall placement are subject to several sections of the Community Development Code. It is best to contact us for site-specific fence inquiries. 

Land development and construction without required permits is a violation of both the CDC and the Building Code. Proper permitting ensures public health and safety is maintained. Building plan submittal and the issuance of required permits will be retroactively required as applicable. Contact Building Services for specific permitting requirements or [email protected] to report unpermitted work. 

Oil spills can be reported to Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality.

Some properties are subject to regulations specific to natural resources and flood plain enhancement and protection. Regulations apply for developments proposed on properties subject to the 100-year Floodplain Overlay, Drainage Hazard Area Overlay and Significant Natural Resource Overlay. Email [email protected] to determine if any overlays are applicable. 

Washington County does not regulate peacocks, roosters or the number of chickens. Structures over 51 square feet in size housing poultry need to be located at least 30 feet from any property line and at least 100 feet from any neighboring home. All structures must be a minimum of 3 feet from a property line and may be required to meet the (greater) district setbacks from all property lines. 

The Washington County Community Development Code does not regulate vacant and/or abandoned homes. Additionally there are no regulations in place to compel landowners to remove neglected buildings beyond securing the property's perimeter with fencing. For concerns regarding vegetation or fire hazards contact Health & Human Services code enforcement

Day care and preschool businesses are allowed in residential areas and are exempt from land use review if they serve less than 16 children. 

Commercial business activity operated from a residence typically requires land use approval for a home occupation. A land use application is required and is subject to annual renewal. Email [email protected]

Home Occupation - Type I (PDF 134.7 KB)

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Property owners are responsible for maintaining vegetation on their properties to ensure visibility onto and within a public right-of-way is maintained.

Washington County does not have a rental inspection program and is not a party to landlord/tenant disputes. Legal Aid and Community Alliance of Tenants are available to assist tenants with landlord/property issues.

Property line disputes are civil issues and need to be resolved between affected parties accordingly. Residents may be eligible for free mediation services at Beaverton Center for Mediation and Dialogue (east of 185th Avenue) and Hillsboro Mediation Program (west of 185th Avenue).

The County does not regulate tree removal on private properties unless the trees are located in County-designated Significant Natural Resource (SNR) areas. Email [email protected] to determine if the trees are in an SNR area before removing them.

In all other areas, tree removal is typically at the discretion of a property owner and does not require a permit.  Neighboring property owners who disagree with tree maintenance/removal may be eligible for free mediation services through Beaverton Center for Mediation and Dialogue (east of 185th Avenue) or Hillsboro Mediation Program (west of 185th Avenue). 

The Washington County Community Development Code does not limit the number of people sharing a home. 

Land use and building violations on a tax lot 'run with the land' and become the responsibility of new property owners, if not addressed by prior owners. New property owners will be responsible for bringing land use and building violations into compliance with County standards.

A land use application is required for new marijuana production (grow), processing, testing or retail business. Land use reviews may be required for some wholesale marijuana businesses. Changes in business operations of existing facilities may require a new land use application. Email [email protected]

Marijuana checklist (PDF 696.73 KB)
Marijuana Regulation (PDF 551.54 KB)

A Land Use Compatibility Statement must be submitted to Washington County after a land use application is approved. Once approved it must be submitted to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, as required by state law, for approval. 

Marijuana LUCS checklist (PDF 719.87 KB)
Marijuana LUCS (PDF 140.25 KB)

The Community Development Code (CDC) Section 430-80 regulates in which land use districts  marijuana facilities can operate. See map. Districts include: 

  • Community Business District
  • General Commercial 
  • Industrial District
  • Rural Commercial
  • Transit-Oriented Retail Commercial
  • Transit-Oriented Business
  • Transit-Oriented Employment
  • North Bethany–Neighborhood Commercial Mixed Use
  • Community Core Mixed-Use District
Land Use Districts (PDF 988.43 KB)

Outdoor parking or storage of more than one inoperable vehicle per tax lot is not allowed (except for wrecking yards approved through a land use application). 

Living in an RV is prohibited, with the exception of specifically approved health hardship permits outside the Urban Growth Boundary. A health hardship permit requires documentation from a physician. To file health hardship land use application, email [email protected]

One RV and one trailer are allowed per tax lot, and are included in the limit of four operable vehicles and one inoperable vehicle per tax lot. 

RVs can be parked on residential streets within the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District for four days (96 hours) in any 28-day period.Call the Washington County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line 503-629-0111. 

  • Street parking along public roads is enforced by the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Call the  non-emergency line at 503-629-0111. 

The Washington County Community Development Code (CDC) prohibits outdoor parking/storage of five or more vehicles on a single tax lot/parcel for more than 48 hours, except as approved in conjunction with a development.

Contact(s)