SALEM, OR-Tougher regulations are on the way for hillside development here. The City Council this week voted to enact new rules requiring developers to prove their projects won’t cause unstable slopes.

The regulations, some of the first in Oregon, will likely be duplicated in other communities after they go into effect early next year. City planning staff will use recently completed maps that identify slide risks in Salem’s West and South Hills, which will be used to determine when a higher level of geologic testing should be required before construction.

Salem has been sued twice in recent years when sliding hillsides cracked foundations and walls under houses and their owners claimed the city was negligent in approving – or failing to regulate – developments. The rules would allow property owners or the city to call for independent review of landslide findings. The independent review allows for a third opinion when the city and a builder disagree about the results of geo-technical studies.

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