How do I know if my land is in the Scenic Area?
Unfortunately, our website does not contain an interactive mapping tool at this time. We do have a public workstation in our office at the front counter with a mapping application that is available during our regular business hours. You can also contact your county planning department to determine whether or not your property is located inside the Scenic Area. Visit our Gorge Links section for County Contact Info.
What does it mean if my property is located inside the Scenic Area?
Most new land uses and ground disturbing activities will require a permit from your county planning department. Depending on what county you are located in, the process may vary. If you are located in Klickitat County, permits must first be obtained from the Gorge Commission and then from the Klickitat County Building Department - before construction activities take place. If you are located in one of the other five counties in the Scenic Area, then your proposal would be reviewed by their office for consistency with the county regulations as well as the Scenic Area guidelines at the same time. Gorge Commission staff are able to make comments on applications received by the other counties, but the decisions are ultimately made by the individual county departments.
How do I start designing a project, knowing that there are special rules that I may have to apply?
First, you can download our Building in the Scenic Area Handbook below for a complete guide on how to get started. We also recommend meeting with a planner before you design your project.
Building in the Scenic Area Handbook
How do I determine zoning or land use designation of a parcel?
Contact your county for zoning information about a specific parcel. If the property is located in Klickitat County, you can contact the Gorge Commission office to get zoning information.
Links & Resources
What rules apply to my property?
The Scenic Area has rules that determine the zoning of the land, the uses allowed in that zone, and rules that protect scenic, cultural, natural and recreational resources. To determine what uses are allowed on your property, you first need to determine the Land Use Designation or zoning of your land. The first step in answering this question is to determine what land use designation is assigned to your property (e.g. GMA F-3 (20) = General Management Area Small Woodland, with a 20 acre minimum parcel size). You can obtain your zoning information from the county planning departments by clicking here. Once you have identified the zoning of your property, refer to the applicable land use ordinance for your county. If you are in Klickitat County, click here. The ordinance should contain a list of uses allowed outright, a list of uses eligible for the expedited review process and a list of review uses for your land use designation. If you do not see your proposal within the list of allowed uses, please contact your county planning department for assistance.
Do I need to have the color of my house approved?
If your house (or any other building on your property) was built after 1986 and approved through the Scenic Area rules, then changing the exterior color must first be approved by the Gorge Commission or appropriate county planning department. If your house (or building) was approved before 1986 and was not reviewed under the Scenic Area guidelines, then approval is not necessary.