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HEARING FROM BOTH SIDES

12/8/22, 6:11 PM

HEARING FROM BOTH SIDES

Last night (12/7/22), the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners held their first of two public hearings at the Crooked River Ranch (CRR) Chapel regarding the MacPherson’s family re- zoning application.

The meeting was well attended and the Board of County Commissioners gave everyone that wanted to speak an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns and ask questions. Public input was clearly opposed to the MacPherson’s proposal that included attorney Carol Macbeth, with Central Oregon Landwatch providing her legal perspective.

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Initially the Commissioners heard testimony from the applicant’s attorney, Adam Smith. His testimony offered nothing really new for those following the process,

but it was important for the Commissioners to hear directly from the applicant and listen to public input.

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After pubic input concluded attorney Adam Smith requested a five minute break to consult with his clients as part of his rebuttal presentation. He addressed many of the issues voiced by the public along with his legal perspective. Smith stated,

“We recognize this is an emotional charged application, we recognize that it is contentious and don’t necessarily agree that, I think certainly, the people coming to these hearings are for the most part are opposed but I don’t know if that’ is an accurate reflection of the entire Crooked River Ranch Community as a whole and certainly not Jefferson County as a whole.”

“At the end of the day, the question is, does the application meet the criteria that are applicable to it…”

Adam Smith’s Rebuttal-Video Snippet

Attorney Smith linked some of his argument to Property Rights and the Rule of Law.

As an aside,the MacPherson’s are on record stating they would like to join the CRR Homeowners Association (HOA) and be a part of the Association community.

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HOW DOES THE RULE OF LAW WORK ON CRR?

Last February, former Ranch Director Richard Ebers wrote a front page story in the Telegraph titled: “Community standards and the CC&R’s.” Ebers message, covered in part, First Amendment comments. He stated: “The beautiful First Amendment does not apply here (CRR) because the HOA is a private entity and each member agreed to abide by the rules.”

Was Ebers parroting Ranch attorney Bruce Lepore? According to Lepore, if you purchase a home on CRR you apparently surrender your Constitutional and Due Process Rights. Lepore stated: “As a private entity, constitutional protections, such as due process, do not apply.”

More recently the CRR Board of Directors imposed three (3) dubious, retaliatory and punitive Resolutions further restricting homeowners rights.

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BACK TO THE MEETING

Interestingly, during the public input portion someone asked the Commissioners what they thought things would look like a year later. Chair/Commissioner Wayne Fording suggested an “appeal.”

Meeting adjourned about 8:40 PM.

AFTER THE MEETING,

Ranch Matters reached out to Jefferson County Community Director, Scott Edelman for his take take. He provided the following statement:

Scott Edelman with Phil Stenbeck

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“I thought last night’s meeting went well. As always, the Ranch Chapel staff was an outstanding host and the facility was great. While there were fewer than at the Planning Commission meetings, attendance was still strong and the Board of Commissioners provided time for everyone to speak who wanted to. I appreciate that they opened it up beyond the initial sign- up sheet since people often don’t realize they have something to contribute until they’ve heard from the applicant and their neighbors. I don’t think there was a lot of new information presented but it was good for the Commissioners directly hear the perspectives from both sides. As planned, this was the first of two hearings before the Board of Commissioners. The purpose of this hearing was for the Board to receive a presentation from the applicant and listen to public testimony. The next meeting is December 14 at 6:00 P.M. at the County Annex Building in Madras (66 SE D Street). Public testimony will be open at this meeting as well, at the end of which the Board has three options:

1) close the public hearing and make a decision;

2) close the public hearing but leave the written record open for additional written testimony or evidence to be submitted, with a decision to be made at a later meeting;

3) continue the public hearing to a future meeting.”

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Ranch Matters Staff

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