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DANGER ZONE

11/22/22, 2:08 PM

DANGER ZONE

Last Thursday, (11/17/22), the Jefferson County Planning Commission held their deliberations regarding the MacPherson’s proposal to build 54 residential lots on Crooked River Ranch.

Planning Commission Chairperson Roy Hyder

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As earlier reported, there has been on-going confusion related to the hearings and in a nut shell, the first hearing dealt with the re-zoning application and the second related to the subdivision application. Jefferson County Community Director Scott Edelman explained the zoning change issue is the “Big One,” the “Complex One.”

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As it turned out, the zoning application was the “Big One” because it was denied by a vote of 4-2 by the Planning Commission (PC). The PC’s role was to provide a recommendation to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners (BOC) who actual have the final say and the PC recommended that the BOC deny the zone change.

Interestingly, the PC approved the subdivision application unanimously 5-0 with the exception of Commissioner Lorie Hancock who recused herself after a lively exchange with MacPherson’s attorney Adam Smith.

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Commissioner Lorie Hancock

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MacPherson’s attorney Adam Smith.

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The confusing aspect of the subdivision approval centered on how the PC had to look at the subdivision application as if the zone change passed.

The Board of County Commissioners will now consider the zone change on December 7 at the Ranch Chapel and the public will be allowed to testify.

 

Ranch Matters reached out to Scott Edelman for his take-explanation.

Scott Edelman

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He provided the following statement:

 

“The Planning Commission (PC) considered all of the information they have received through the application and public hearings process. There were two applications before them. For the proposed comprehensive map plan amendment and zone change, their role was to provide a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners (BOC), who is the actual decision making body for this application. By a vote of 4-2, they recommended that the BOC deny the zone change.

For the subdivision, the PC is actually the deciding body, with an appeal going to the BOC. The PC voted to approve the subdivision unanimously 5-0 (Commissioner Hancock recused herself and did not vote).

This is a bit confusing-the PC had to look at the subdivision AS IF the zone change passed, since the BOC could pass it. Even though the PC approved the subdivision, if the BOC does not approve the zone change, then the subdivision approval is void.

Your readers might be asking why a planning commissioner would oppose the zone change but support the subdivision, The reason is because the criteria for the subdivision is mostly clear and objective-it is mostly a matter of determining whether the application meets it or not. So, even the commissioners  who voted no on the zone change determined that the subdivision meets the criteria IF the zone change is approved by the BOC.

The recusal issue was certainly interesting and something I’ve never seen before. Commissioner Hancock indicated that she looked at the DLCD website to look up information related to the case. In the opinion of the applicant’s attorney, this constitutes individual research outside of the hearings process, which is not allowed-the PC is only supposed to consider the information presented at the public gearing’s or in writing for the entire PC to review. I don’t think Commissioner Hancock agrees that what she did constituted additional research outside of the process but she did recuse herself so the PC could move forward. I am not an attorney and could see it both ways.

Next step:

The Board of Commissioners will now consider the zone change on December 7 at 6PM at the Ranch Chapel. The hearings will be similar to the ones just finished with the PC- Phil (Stenbeck) will give a staff report, followed by the applicant’s presentation, then the public will have an opportunity to provide testimony. All of the information previously considered by the Planning Commission will be provided to the Board of Commissioners for consideration in their decision. This includes the minutes of the hearings, which summarize the public testimony, as well as copies of all letters and documents submitted into the record by the applicant and the public.

The BOC makes the final decision for the county, which can then be appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

The BOC will NOT be considering the subdivision unless it is appealed, in which case, this would have to take place at a letter meeting due to noticing requirements.”

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Ranch Matters Staff

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