I want to respond to the July 24 letter “County making devastating, uninformed decisions.”

On July 24 Clackamas County commissioners unanimously approved Zoning and Development Ordinance (ZDO) 243 - by: SUBMITTED - John LudlowIndustrial Lands, after two public hearings, extensive public outreach by county planning staff, advice from an industrial lands focus group and review from the planning commission. This ZDO amendment is the first step in a five-year audit process initiated by the previous board of county commissioners to improve, clarify and update the zoning and development ordinance, which was first adopted more than 30 years ago.

As the board of county commissioners, it is our responsibility to make the final decision on county policy and legislation. We were elected to make these choices on behalf of our citizens. We take that responsibility very seriously. We listen to the public and our citizen advisory boards and commissions. We rely on the expert counsel of our staff to guide us.  

The planning commission is an advisory group comprised of thoughtful, dedicated county residents who volunteer their time to help the county and their fellow citizens work through challenging land use issues. We appreciate and value their insights and advice. That does not mean we are always in agreement with them.

In this most recent action, comprehensive and extensive revisions and updates were proposed to the ZDO. Out of all of those, there were just 17 with different recommendations from the planning commission and our planning staff. The BCC accepted all or significant portions of 10 of those 17 recommendations from the planning commission and followed the staff recommendation on the other issues because our professional staff and the BCC felt it was important to focus on economic vitality and jobs in Clackamas County.

The amendments significantly improve land use regulations in the urban and industrial zoning district in many ways, including: consolidating zoning districts to make it easier for customers to understand, allowing greater flexibility of uses, providing limited commercial uses to support employees and activities in industrial areas in compliance with regional regulations, eliminating redundancy, and amending the rural industrial zoning district to comply with state law and support farm and forest operations.

The unanimous BCC decision was the best possible outcome based on the information and recommendations of all involved in this exhaustive process.

If modifications are needed in the future, those will be made. In the meantime, the BCC looks forward to increasing the economic vitality of Clackamas County and continuing the high quality of life for our citizens.

The citizens of Clackamas County placed their trust in me to lead this county with collaboration and cooperation. I do just that. I also express my views without reservation, which I believe citizens want in their elected leaders. Please attend, watch or listen to the BCC work sessions and business meetings and judge for yourself.

John Ludlow is chairman of the Board of Clackamas County Commissioners and lives Wilsonville.

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