Gross v. Jackson County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 12-19-2016
  • Case #: 2016-091
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Ryan
  • Full Text Opinion

The agricultural building exemption located in ORS 455.315(1) applies when the buildings at issue are located on a farm, regardless of the land’s zoning designation.

     The petitioners constructed two greenhouses on their property without obtaining (1) land use authorization pursuant to the Jackson County Land Development Ordinance (LDO), or (2) building code permits pursuant to Chapter 1420 of the Codified Ordinances of Jackson County (JCCO).  The hearings officer held a hearing and issued an order requiring the petitioners to discontinue using the greenhouses until all required permits were granted, and imposing fines for the violations. The petitioners appealed the decision.

     The hearings officer found that petitioners violated JCCO 1420.04, which mandates compliance with certain building codes. ORS 455.315(1) states that the particular chapter does not apply to an agricultural building. The petitioners argued that the greenhouses are agricultural buildings as defined in ORS 455.315 because they are located on a farm, and are therefore exempt from JCCO 1420.04. The hearings officer reasoned that ORS 455.315 only applies to buildings that are located on land that is zoned for farm or forest use.

     LUBA determined that the express language of the statute did not support the hearings officer’s reading of ORS 455.315, since nothing in the language referenced zoning classifications. LUBA instead found that the language evidenced an intent that the exemption apply when the structure is located on a farm, regardless of the zoning designation. LUBA further held that the legislative history supported this interpretation of the statute.  

     Petitioners further argued that as exempt “agricultural buildings,” the greenhouses are exempt from the structural, mechanical, and electrical codes contained in ORS chapter 455. LUBA disagreed, finding ORS 455.315 only exempts buildings from the requirements of a state structural specialty code as defined in ORS 455.010(9), and not all state building codes. REMANDED.