Statute: Open Space Lands Special Assessment (Or. Rev. Stat. § 308A.300).
Purpose of Assessment:“To maintain, preserve, conserve and otherwise continue in existence adequate open space lands and the vegetation thereon to assure continued public health by counteracting pollutants and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well-being of the state and its citizens.” Or. Rev. Stat. § 308A.303. Also notes the legislature’s desire to prevent forced conversion of open space into more intensive uses.
Method of Assessment: Land classified as open space land shall have an assessed value for the tax year equal to the lesser of the land's maximum assessed value or the land's real market value under Or. Rev. Stat. § 308.205, but this value must assume that the highest and best use of the land is the current open space use, including any improvements. Or. Rev. Stat. § 308A.315.
Application: An owner must apply during the calendar year preceding the first assessment year to the county assessor. If the ownership of all property included in the application remains unchanged, a new application is not required after the first year for which application was made and approved.
Renewal: Not required unless ownership of any of the property changes.
Area Requirements: None
Plan Requirements: None
Unique or Functional Characteristics
a) Land may be considered eligible for open space valuation if it is designated for open space purposes under a zoning plan or if it serves various conservation and recreational purposes. Or. Rev. Stat. § 308.300.
b) The county or other local planning and zoning authorities may weigh various considerations in deciding whether to grant the petition (as long as the parcel did not become eligible for valuation because it is designated for open space already, in which case the petition is non-discretionary), including projected costs and other consequences of extending urban services in other areas to compensate for any reduction in available buildable lands. However, if the commission finds that the parcel serves any of the various conservation or recreation purposes, the petition may not be denied based solely on the loss of revenue that would occur from granting the petition. § 308A.309.
Statute: Wildlife Habitat Special Assessment (Or. Rev. Stat. 308A.400).
Purpose of Assessment: Encourage and protect wildlife resources in the state through a voluntary conservation incentive rather than a regulation. Or. Rev. Stat. § 308A.400.
Method of Assessment: If the land was already assessed under one of the other special assessment methods, the value shall continue to be determined in accordance with the valuation method that was used the previous year [either under Or. Rev. Stat. 308A.050 to 308A.128 (farm use) or Or. Rev. Stat. 321.354 or 321.833 (timber/forestland use)]. If the parcel was not valued by either of these methods, the statute provides the guidelines for determining the value, depending on which requirements the parcel satisfies. Essentially, these statutes require current use valuation based on the type of use ongoing at the parcel, whether timber, agriculture, or otherwise.
Application: Applicant must submit a wildlife habitat conservation and management plan to the state Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife. After approval by the Department, the property owner must apply to the county assessor on or before April 1 of the first assessment year for which designation is sought. This application is deemed approved unless the county assessor denies it in whole or in part by August 15 of the same year.
Area Requirements: No
Plan Requirements: Must develop a wildlife habitat conservation and management plan with a cooperating agency that specifies the conservation and management practices (including farm and forest uses consistent with the overall intent of the plan) that will be conducted to preserve and improve wildlife habitat on an affected lot or parcel. Wildlife habitat conservation and management plans may include those efforts that improve water quality, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats, recover threatened or endangered species, enhance streamflows and maintain or restore long-term ecological health, diversity and productivity on a broad geographic scale. Accepted agricultural and forestry practices are accepted as an integral part of the wildlife habitat conservation and management practices specified in an approved plan. Or. Rev. Stat. 308A.412; 308A.424.
Unique or Functional Characteristics
a) State Fish and Wildlife Commission must designate lands that are eligible for this type of assessment at the request of the local governing body. Such lands include any land already zoned for farm or forest use or which is clearly identifiable as containing significant wildlife habitat. Only lands so designated are eligible for this special assessment.