The Law Office of Bill Kloos, PC, is a three-person firm specializing in most aspects of Oregon land use law. Its principal, Bill Kloos, has practiced in this field since his arrival in Oregon in 1981. Bill’s background, prior to attending law school, was as an urban planner in Honolulu, Hawaii. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Bill practiced with Allen Johnson, as the firm Johnson & Kloos. Beginning in 1995 the firm became Johnson, Kloos & Sherton. Bill opened his own office in 1999.
Kim O’Dea joined the firm in March 2001. In addition to her law degree, she has a graduate degree in community and regional planning, and has worked for a number of public planning organizations in the mid-Willamette valley.
Nick Klingensmith joined the firm in 2009, and he clerked for the firm while in law school, from 2004 to 2007. In the time between law school and joining the firm, Nick held a fellowship at the U.S. State Department, in Washington, D.C.
What We Do
We work primarily with people who are involved in obtaining land use permits in Oregon. We represent clients throughout the land use approval process, from submitting applications at the local level through appeals to Oregon’s appellate courts. A smaller portion of our work includes participating in the drafting and enacting of local land use regulations and the periodic review process of local codes and comprehensive plans.
Oregon has a comprehensive legal framework for land use regulation that is really unique in the nation. The framework is found in state statutes, 19 Statewide Planning Goals adopted by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), and rules adopted by the LCDC to implement the statutes and goals. Local governments adopt and apply comprehensive plans and land use regulations that comply with the state framework. State agencies are to make their land use decisions in a way that complies with the goals and is compatible with local plans and regulations.
The Statewide Planning Goals provide a capsule summary of what the Oregon program is intended to accomplish. The goals cover the spectrum in terms of issues they address, including: planning process, resource protection, housing and economic development, public facilities and transportation, urbanization, coastal resources, and others. The goals are to be given equal weight when they are applied in any decision. The goals inherently conflict, of course, thus creating a venue for local policy making.
The brightest lines in the Oregon program are Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs), which encircle each city. Inside UGBs there is a presumption that land should be developed for urban uses in relatively dense patterns that make efficient use of facilities and services. Outside UGBs the presumption is that land should be kept in resource use, primarily farming and forestry. The opportunity for residential and other non-resource development in rural areas is very constrained. Our firm works with applications involving both urban and rural development.
Oregon’s comprehensive standards for land use decisions and its wide-open process for public participation combine to generate much local controversy and appeals of local decisions. Final local decisions may be made by hearings officials, planning commissions, or governing bodies. These decisions typically can be appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). LUBA appeals can take nine months or more to resolve. LUBA decisions are then appealable to the Court of Appeals, which is required by statute to resolve land use appeals on an expedited schedule. Our firm works both with persons interested in prosecuting appeals in the state process as well as with persons defending appeals.
Law Office of Bill Kloos, P.C.
375 W. 4th, Suite 204
Eugene, OR 97401