Review Process for Projects of State Significance

Steps in the Review Process

  1. Applicant submits a Notice of Intent (NOI)
  2. Council issues Project Order with application deadline and estimated charges
  3. Applicant submits Application for a Project Certificate and charges
  4. Council reviews application
  5. Council makes Project Certificate decision

Notice of Intent (NOI)

The NOI provides information about the proposed project and its potential impacts. It enables the council and the involved government agencies to identify issues and determine staffing needs for the review process and provides the first opportunity for public participation in the process. The council usually holds at least one public informational meeting in the vicinity of the site of the proposed facility. Agency comments on the Notice of Intent alert the applicant to issues that the applicant will need to address.

Applicants should begin informal discussions with the local land use agencies and with state permitting agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Department of State Lands (DSL) before submitting an NOI. Some permits require data that are not available from existing studies and may require data collection over a sufficient period to take into account seasonal and other fluctuations. In these instances, it is likely that the applicant will need to begin collecting data before submitting the NOI.

The NOI must include a description of the proposed project, the site and the
possible impacts of development in enough detail for the council and other agencies to identify the applicable statutes, rules and local ordinances. Full list of requirements. PDF

Project Order

After reviewing the Notice of Intent, the council issues a Project Order. The Project Order identifies applicable standards and criteria for approval of each discretionary local or state permit, an estimated cost for charges and the deadline for an applicant to file a complete application.

Application for a Project Certificate

The applicant cannot submit the Application for Project Certificate until the council has issued a Project Order, but applicants can shorten the preparation phase by planning as much of the application as possible in advance. A well-prepared Notice of Intent can serve as a starting framework for the application. It may also be useful to contact other state agencies and ask for informal involvement during this phase. Some agencies, for example, may need to conduct field inspections, which could be initiated during the application preparation phase.

The application will need to include the same information as would be required to make each applicable permit application separately.

The council reviews the application to determine if it is complete and contains enough information to support findings by the council that the facility satisfies the applicable standards. If necessary to find the application complete, the council will request additional information from the applicant. During this "completeness" phase, there may be changes or additions to the application, either in response to the council's questions or as the result of changes in the applicant's plans.

Charges
The charge structure per project is dependent on the complexity of the project and number of permits required. The estimated charges for staff review and permits will be state in the Project Order. Applicant will submit an initial payment toward the estimated charge at the time of application. If the cost of review and permits exceeds the initial estimate, additional charges will be required from the applicant to cover the expense.

The council accepts the application after it is deemed complete. The final decision by the council on a Project Certificate must be made within 120 days of filing a complete application.

Application Review

The council conducts a thorough review of the complete application. The council consults with the affected state and local government agencies and requests their comments and recommendations to determine if the project complies with the applicable standards and criteria, and if so, the conditions are included in the Project Certificate.

During the review process, the council will issue a notice for a public hearing in the land use jurisdiction the proposed project would occur. The notice will be sent to property owners surrounding the proposed project site and include the date, time, and location of the hearing and the relevant criteria the council will consider. Anyone having a concern in opposition to the proposed facility must raise the issue on the record of the hearing.

Council Makes a Project Certificate Decision

After the public hearing, the council reviews all of the information and comments and decides within the 120-day timeline whether or not to issue a Project Certificate. The council issues a Project Certificate if there is consensus among the council. The council may include in the Project Certificate conditions reasonably necessary to ensure that the proposed project complies with applicable standards and criteria. The certificate also will include any conditions requiring commencement of construction by a date calculated to ensure that a particular site is developed for the project within a specific time period. If the council determines that the project does not, or cannot, comply with applicable standards and criteria, the council shall issue a final order denying the application and explaining why the application was not approved.

Appeal
Only a person who participated in the proceedings before the council may appeal the final order of the council to the Court of Appeals. The Land Use Board of Appeals does not have jurisdiction to consider final order decisions of the council. The Court of Appeals can only reverse or remand a council decision if:

  1. the council's determination that the proposed project qualified as a project of state significance was clearly in error; or
  2. the council's determination showed partiality or was procured by fraud, corruptions or other undue means; or
  3. the decision was unconstitutional.