What We Need to Know:
Talent has adopted two historic districts located in the downtown area of the city. One is located in the Old Town Plat, Talent’s original subdivision platted in 1910 (west of the railroad, north of Wagner Butte Ave., and east of West Street). The other comprises the houses on either side of Gibson Street and north of Sunny Street. In addition to the two historic districts, there are sixteen historic sites specified in the zoning ordinance for protection. All new development, other projects that affect the exterior appearance of structures within the historic districts, and all development within 150 feet of a designated historic site may be subject to Historic Design Review by the Architectural Review Committee (see Section 8-3L.7 of the Talent Zoning Code). Section 8-3L.7 provides standards for historic preservation in Talent and is being updated to reflect statewide and local policy changes regarding the preservation and conservation of historic and cultural resources.
Compliance with the recommendations of the Architectural Review Committee are voluntary. However, compliance makes good economic sense for property owners and approval by ARC facilitates the approval process by staff and the Planning Commission. The Architectural Review Committee can provide resources on appropriate building materials to use for historic preservation and compatible construction techniques and architectural details. ARC can refer applicants to contractors with the special skills needed to restore historic details. And very often the recommended, historically appropriate materials can be purchased for prices comparable to the cost of conventional materials. Using the proper materials and techniques to support historic preservation can improve the appearance of the neighborhood and property resale value.
What We Need to Know:
To find out what you can do on your lot, you will have to consult the Talent Development Codes. Talent has zoning districts for Residential, Commercial, and Light Industrial land uses. The Zoning Code includes an Article for each of the zoning districts, with the various uses that are allowed listed under four basic categories. The zoning ordinance tells you what is permitted, and under what conditions it can be approved.
Zoning ordinances are “inclusive”. If a lands use is allowed, it will be included in one of the use lists in the ordinance. If it is not listed, it is not allowed. A land use will not be permitted in any zone where it is not listed. There is one exception to this general rule. If a proposed land use is not listed in any zoning district in the city, it may be possible to permit it in a zone as a “Similar Use.” To obtain approval for a “similar use”, the applicant has to demonstrate that the proposed use is substantially similar to uses that are allowed, particularly in terms of its impacts on the surrounding area.
The categories for land uses are based upon the impacts of the uses on the neighbors and the level of review that is required for approval. Some uses are permitted outright. For instance, the first single-family residence on an individual lot in a residential zoning district is an outright permitted use. In addition to the list of permitted uses, there are Residential Development Standards, prescribed setbacks from property lines, and some other basic requirements for permitted uses. The planning procedure for permitted uses is just a quick check by the City Planner to see that those basic requirements are met, and a signed “Zoning Clearance Permit” that authorizes the Building Official to accept your construction plans for review and permits.
Some new uses require Administrative Site Development Plan Review, meaning that the City Planner will need to review the project for compliance with City development standards. More complex uses require Site Development Plan Review with a public hearing in front of the Planning Commission. Also, uses that are considered to have a potentially significant impact on the surrounding area require Planning Commission review and consideration of Conditional Use Permit criteria that address how potential adverse impacts can be minimized. For more information, see the “Site Development Plan Review” section of this document.
When people talk about something that is “grandfathered” they are usually talking about a non-conforming use. The general term “non-conforming use” may refer to a land use, a structure, or a lot. Situations that violated City Code when they were established cannot be “grandfathered”, but legal pre-existing conditions may be. The three types of non-conforming uses are considered separately as non-conforming “uses,” “structures,” or “lots.”
Non-Conforming Uses: A non-conforming use is one that is located in a zoning district that no longer allows that use. An example would be a pre-existing mobile home park located in a commercial zoning district. A legal non-conforming use is one that was started or built before adoption of the regulation that now makes it non-conforming. Non-conforming uses may be continued, maintained, and improved. However, non-conforming uses may not be expanded. If the structure housing a non-conforming use is substantially damaged (loss of 50% or more of the value of the premises), it cannot be replaced unless it complies with all current regulations. If a non-conforming use is discontinued for longer than a year, the use has effectively been abandoned, and it cannot be re-established.
Non-Conforming Structures: A non-conforming structure is one that does not comply with current siting standards, but it houses a use that is allowed in the zoning district in which it is located. The most common type of non-conforming structure is one that does not meet current setback requirements. For example, there are several homes along Wagner Creek that do not meet the newly established wetland and riparian area setbacks. Non-conforming structures may be maintained and improved, but they may not be expanded in a way that increases the non-conforming conditions. If a non-conforming structure is substantially damaged, reconstruction of the building must meet the siting and construction standards currently in place. If the current setbacks or other standards cannot be met on the lot, it will be necessary to get approval of an Exception or a Variance to any standards that cannot otherwise be met. Special setbacks such as the Wetland and Riparian Setback provide for an exception procedure under certain circumstances where the standards cannot be met. For extenuating circumstances, and where there is no exception process, a Variance may be approved. However, approval of an Exception or a Variance is not a sure thing. Ownership of a nonconforming structure incurs risk to the owner, and non-conforming structures sometimes cannot be replaced.
Non-Conforming Lots: A non-conforming lot is one that does not meet the size or dimension standards for the zoning district in which it is located. Legally established lots (Legal Lots of Record) can usually be developed in spite of unusual size or shape only if setbacks and other basic development standards can be met. If a lot cannot be developed due to circumstances beyond the control of the property owner, it is possible that a Variance can be approved to remedy the situation.
There are also many small pieces of land in the City that are not legal lots of record. More than likely, these lots are the result of remaining portions of the lot from an original plat or subdivision. In most cases, a potential remedy is a lot line adjustment, but it cannot be completed by the Tax Assessor’s Office because of inconsistent deed records or other technical problems. Such lots cannot be developed unless they are either 1) consolidated with legal separate lots or 2) formalized by approval of a partition.
Once you have final zoning approval for a construction project, you are ready to obtain building permits. The final approval may be a Zoning Permit, or an approved site development plan review.
Permit fees are based upon State regulations and the type of construction or installation applied for. City staff cannot estimate construction permit costs.
Jackson County is on contract to provide building department services to the City of Talent. These services include structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permit review, state building code interpretation, and site inspection.
The City Planner must review and approve the “final site plan” that meets the conditions of approval that were assigned as part of the planning and zoning approval before the building review process in initiated. Once this final site plan is approved, the Talent building official will provide an applicant with a checklist of items that may be required to review an application for a building permit depending on the type of request. In addition, the City will not issue building permits until all applicable systems development charges (SDCs), including sewer (Rogue Valley Sewer Services), are paid in full.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 535-7401. Residential building plans are accepted Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Building permits will be issued at Talent's City Hall, 110 East Main Street, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Site Plan Review is covered at length in Section 8-3L.1 of the Talent Zoning Code. As a general rule, Site Development Plan Review is required for all new construction except for single-family residential development on single-family lots and placement of manufactured homes in existing spaces in established manufactured home parks. Site Plan Review is also required for a change in use in a commercial or industrial building, particularly if the facility pre-dates the Talent Zoning Code. The purpose of Site Plan Review is to determine that the proposed development meets the City’s minimum standards for parking, landscaping, setbacks, and buffering from nearby uses.
The Talent Zoning Ordinance assigns different levels of site plan review for different types of uses. Some applications will receive Administrative Review, which means that the City Planner will review the proposal for compliance with local regulations. Other applications are reviewed by the Planning Commission after a public hearing at which time the applicant and any other interested parties will have an opportunity to address the Commission. Some applications require a hearing before the Planning Commission and must also meet Conditional Use criteria (Section 8-3L.2 of the Talent Zoning Code). The different levels of review address differences in the size and complexity of projects, and on the potential impacts of the proposed project on the surrounding area. When a specific use is not listed anywhere in the zoning ordinance, the applicant may apply for a Similar Use Determination, in conjunction with applying for review based upon the most similar use that is covered by the ordinance.
A Site Development Plan Review application needs to include two basic parts:
When a Site Development Plan Review application is received by the City Planner, the City has up to thirty (30) days to review the application for completeness and either accept it for review or return it to the applicant for further work. Once accepted, a notice will be prepared to let neighbors within 250 feet of the subject property know about the pending application, and to invite their comments on the proposal.
Once the initial comment period, established by the public notice, has passed, the City Planner will review the application and write a staff report that discusses the material submitted, and whether the approval criteria are met. For an administrative review, the staff report will also be a tentative approval with conditions, or denial. For a Planning Commission review, the staff report will either recommend approval with conditions, or recommend denial. Once a final decision has been made, the decision document will be mailed to interested parties, and there will be an opportunity for appeal. Anyone who participates in the decision process, either by written comment or by testimony in a public hearing, has a right to appeal a planning department or Planning Commission decision.
The appeals procedure is covered by 8-3M.1 of the Zoning Code. For more information on notice and appeals statutes, contact Community Development at (541) 535-7401.