Chapter 18.174


18.174.005    Availability of declaratory ruling.

18.174.010    Persons who may apply.

18.174.015    Procedures.

18.174.020    Effect of declaratory ruling.

18.174.025    Interpretation.

18.174.005 Availability of declaratory ruling.

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this chapter, there shall be available for the county’s comprehensive plans, the county’s land division ordinance (CCC Title 17) and Crook County zoning ordinance (CCC Title 18), a process for:

(a) Interpreting a provision of a comprehensive plan or ordinance (and other documents incorporated by reference) in which there is doubt or a dispute as to its meaning or application;

(b) Interpreting a provision or limitation in a land use permit issued by the county or quasi-judicial plan amendment or zone change (except those quasi-judicial land use actions involving property that has since been annexed into the city of Prineville) in which there is doubt or a dispute as to its meaning or application;

(c) Determining whether an approval has been initiated or considering the revocation of a previously issued land use permit, quasi-judicial plan amendment or zone change;

(d) Determining the validity and scope of a nonconforming use;

(e) Determining other similar status situations under a comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance or land division ordinance that do not constitute the approval or denial of an application for a permit; and

(f) Verifying whether a lot or parcel was lawfully established.

Such a determination or interpretation shall be known as a “declaratory ruling” and shall be processed in accordance with this section. In all cases, as part of making a determination or interpretation the director shall have the authority to declare the rights and obligations of persons affected by the ruling.

(2) A declaratory ruling shall be available only in instances involving a fact-specific controversy and to resolve and determine the particular rights and obligations of particular parties to the controversy. Declaratory proceedings shall not be used to grant an advisory opinion. Declaratory proceedings shall not be used as a substitute for seeking an amendment of general applicability to a legislative enactment.

(3) Declaratory rulings shall not be used as a substitute for an appeal of a decision in a land use action or for a modification of an approval. In the case of a ruling on a land use action a declaratory ruling shall not be available until six months after a decision in the land use action is final.

(4) The director may refuse to accept an application for a declaratory ruling if:

(a) The director determines that the question presented can be decided in conjunction with approving or denying a pending land use action application or if in the director’s judgment the requested determination should be made as part of a decision on an application for a quasi-judicial plan amendment or zone change or a land use permit not yet filed; or

(b) The director determines that there is an enforcement case pending in district or circuit court in which the same issue necessarily will be decided as to the applicant and the applicant failed to file the request for a declaratory ruling within two weeks after being cited or served with a complaint.

The director determination to not accept or deny an application under this section shall be the county’s final decision. (Ord. 330 § 11 (Exh. J), 2022)

18.174.010 Persons who may apply.

(1) CCC 18.172.005(4) notwithstanding, the following persons may initiate a declaratory ruling under this section:

(a) The owner of a property requesting a declaratory ruling relating to the use of the owner’s property;

(b) In cases where the request is to interpret a previously issued quasi-judicial plan amendment, zone change or land use permit, the holder of the permit; or

(c) In all cases arising under this section, the director.

No other person shall be entitled to initiate a declaratory ruling.

(2) A request for a declaratory ruling shall be initiated by filing an application with the planning department and, except for applications initiated by the director, shall be accompanied by such fees as have been set by the planning department. Each application for a declaratory ruling shall include the precise question on which a ruling is sought. The application shall set forth whatever facts are relevant and necessary for making the determination and such other information as may be required by the planning department. (Ord. 330 § 11 (Exh. J), 2022)

18.174.015 Procedures.

Except as set forth in this chapter or in applicable provisions of a zoning ordinance, the procedures for making declaratory rulings shall be the same as set forth in CCC 18.172.015 for land use actions. Where the planning department is the applicant, the planning department shall bear the same burden that applicants generally bear in pursuing a land use action. (Ord. 330 § 11 (Exh. J), 2022)

18.174.020 Effect of declaratory ruling.

(1) A declaratory ruling shall be conclusive on the subject of the ruling and bind the parties to the declaratory ruling as to the determination made.

(2) Parties to a declaratory ruling shall not be entitled to reapply for a declaratory ruling on the same question. (Ord. 330 § 11 (Exh. J), 2022)

18.174.025 Interpretation.

Interpretations made under this chapter shall not have the effect of amending the interpreted language in the applicable comprehensive plan or ordinance. Interpretation shall be made only of language that is ambiguous either on its face or in its application. Any interpretation of a provision of the comprehensive plan or other land use ordinance shall consider applicable provisions of the comprehensive plan and the purpose and intent of the ordinance as applied to the particular section in question. (Ord. 330 § 11 (Exh. J), 2022)