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February 3, 1998

REGULAR MEETING BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Commissioners' Conference Room 1:30 p.m.

Chair Steve Cornacchia presided, with Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Tarra Withers, Recording Secretary.

10. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

a. DISCUSSION/West Eugene Wetlands Plan Revised Policies.

Jan Childs, Planning and Development, City of Eugene, provided introduction and background on this item. (See material on file). Childs went over the proposed changes; including moving criteria from the appendix into the policy, more specific language in the preamble, recommendations that differed from staff's, rare plant criteria (one or two plants on a site alone do not necessarily require protection), and clarification of amendments. On development criteria, Childs noted similar changes to clarify language and address specific characteristics of a site. Childs stated that adding new language was to make sure that when a site was considered for development it would be reviewed in the larger context of the West Eugene Wetlands Plan. Childs also noted a new policy that deals with mitigation sites (a restatement of a policy in the West Eugene Wetlands Plan) is to determine sites appropriate for restoration rather than strictly protection status.

Green asked for clarification of "unique characteristics." Childs said this was intentionally not defined in order to provide for flexibility in application to an individual site.

Childs discussed proposed new policies and their implications, including a plan transportation corridor, underground utility corridors, and designation of jurisdictional wetlands (see material on file).

Childs discussed Amendment No. 69 of proposed amendments to the West Eugene Wetlands Plan (see material on file), and noted that this will be recommended for change so that the term "speedway site" means only the oval, not the entire property. Childs said the recommendation was to substitute "speedway facility" for speedway site.

Green asked if the term "City shall pursue restitution" means the City will only pursue it, not pay for it. Childs explained that this means the City could work with the Bureau of Land Management to encourage the agency to purchase part of the property and the City could encourage a property owner to mitigate against other wetlands impacts through development.

Sorenson asked if there was any more federal money available for land acquisitions. Childs said she knew of no other.

Cornacchia stated it appears there are two different actions with regard to the ordinances; one legislative involving criteria, the other a series of quasi-judicial actions. He asked Childs if the first ordinance is specific only to changes to the wetlands plan, not to the map or site specific. She replied affirmatively. Cornacchia suggested a discussion involving only the criteria, wherein both jurisdictions would reach agreement; then subsequent discussion of sites would fall under that criteria. Childs said the city council has discussed that option and was interested in the Board's opinion. She agreed that criteria could not be applied to sites until a decision was made to retain or modify them.

Childs cautioned that two new policies (Plan Transportation Corridor and Underground Utility) are independent from the application of criteria, and should be considered in advance of deciding on site criteria. Cornacchia said there would be time constraints on the Transportation Corridor criteria proposal because it would have to be deliberated by the Lane County Roads Advisory Committee. Childs noted that this had been discussed by the Transportation Planning Committee, and this was not intended to establish new projects, but allowed for projects in the TransPlan and budgeted to move forward. Cornacchia asked if it would stop projects. Childs replied it would if it was not adopted.

Referring to the proposed ordinances (see material on file), Cornacchia asked if 1107, 1108 and 1109 could not be passed until 1106 passes. Childs replied affirmatively. Cornacchia proposed a session with the city council strictly on criteria, with no public hearing. After discussion on the appropriate amount of time for the public hearing portion of the meeting, no consensus was reached on changing the current format. Childs stated she would meet with city officials to schedule an executive session to precede the regular session.

Cornacchia confirmed with Childs that the other public hearings scheduled would be postponed until after this session. Stephen Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, reminded the Board of public hearings required after the first reading. Cornacchia stated it was the Board's intention to pass the first reading of 1106 tomorrow, but not to pass it for the other three. Childs agreed.

On the subject of criteria, Cornacchia stated that during the formation of the West Eugene Wetlands Plan, a balance was sought between competing interests, but since that process nearly one-half of the campus industrial zoning has been lost to wetlands. Cornacchia added that approximately $25 million had been spent on roads, sewers, waterlines, and other service improvements, but the balance has been tilted away from the economic development environment. Cornacchia stated that there are three criteria (6, 7, 8) that could be combined into one--Criteria 6.

On the subject of protection area, Cornacchia expressed concern about Criteria 5, stating it should be more specific. Cornacchia suggested replacing the language with "site directly abuts" or "is connected by a natural stream or open waterway to other wetlands and waterways." Cornacchia declared that his interpretation of the criteria leads him to believe it was written for a specific site, and not designed for the total wetlands inventory. Cornacchia voiced concern, stating that this was a "modification to the wetlands plan to fit the Hyundai site" and use of the land use system "to achieve political goals and agendas." He added that an obverse argument could be made by substituting Criteria 9 for Criteria 6.

On the subject of development, Cornacchia declared there was nothing in the criteria that gave value to an existing business that wished to expand. He added there was nothing in the criteria that gave value for campus industrial or special light industrial. Cornacchia stated that what happened in the Eugene light industrial area was very important for his constituents in Springfield, and he was very concerned about the "seemingly abandonment of this value regarding special light industrial."

On the subject of restoration, Cornacchia stated that the criteria seem to state that the restoration can only occur inside the West Eugene Wetlands Plan area, and he questioned why restoration could not occur outside the plan. Cornacchia also asked how to get to restoration using the previous two sets of criteria (development and protection). He added that language should be included on the designation of restoration that states "it would either be prohibited or not be required" if there are high values in the development criteria.

Cornacchia stated there are 2,000 acres being treated, but all the work has been done relative to 12 acres, which led him to believe this exercise was not a legitimate public policy exercise, but rather directed at one business. Cornacchia stated he had numerous questions, but would submit them to Childs in written form.

Cornacchia queried the Board on their interest in pursuing the issues he raised. Green stated he had concerns about this project being "somewhat of a smokescreen" on how to manage growth. Green said he was willing to go through the process, but he does have some concerns.

Childs stated she has not had time to provide a greater overview for the city council or the Board of County Commissioners, and would like to provide that at a work session.

Dumdi stated she agreed with most of Cornacchia's comments, and emphasized that her constituents were also concerned about job development in Eugene. She added that she has been in the area a long time and knows the history, and it is not pristine wetlands. She said she did not want to lose the balance between development and maintaining good quality of life.

Sorenson stated the economic diversification issue was an important component. He said he was concerned about quantifiable information, both economic and environmental, on the status of businesses and available land. He stated economic diversification was an important component of quality of life, but the plan should account for congestion and "the daily hassles of life."

Weeldreyer stated this issue has polarized a significant portion of the community, and as elected officials there is an opportunity to lead by example in the area of balance. She voiced agreement with Cornacchia's statements on equaling the criteria between protection and economic development.

Cornacchia stated he would provide a written document about his concerns to the Board and Childs. He declared that the commissions and councils could lead by example in showing an interest in quality of life. Weeldreyer stated it was important to keep the big picture and not focus on one component of the plan.

Kent Howe, Planning Director, echoed Weeldreyer's comment.

Steve Gordon, LCOG, stated that legislative decisions need to be made on what's to be done and what criteria will apply.

Cornacchia thanked Childs for her work on this item.

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Weeldreyer announced that she had attended an AOC (Association of Oregon Counties) meeting on communication amongst commissioners statewide and development of a toolkit for commissioners to interface with legislators and candidates. She stated the goal of this effort was to enable the statewide organization to move quickly during the legislative session.
Weeldreyer stated she was also preparing a report on technology and animal regulation.

Weeldreyer expressed condolences to the Lew Edmonds family.

Concerning the African-American History exhibit on display in the Public Service Building, Green complimented Hector Rios, Management Services; the Lane County Human Rights and Lane County Affirmative Action Advisory Committees, as well as the curator of the exhibit.
Green also announced that he attended Governor Kitzhaber's summit on the over-representation of minority youth in the criminal justice system, and has been working with a consultant on the issue, who will be in Eugene from February 18, 19, and 20. Green reported on progress and workshops on this issue in the local community.

Green announced the AOC legislative committee had developed five priorities (transportation, assessment and taxation, courts, district attorney, economic development) as well as juvenile commission issues. Weeldreyer added that the establishment of an emergency management fund for the State of Oregon was also an issue. She said there would be a final report in May on what the final priorities would be.

Sorenson announced that John Albrecht of Eugene had passed away.

Sorenson announced that he had met with Dennis Williamson, the new Eugene District BLM Director who provided a comprehensive presentation on the BLM's activities in Lane County.

Dumdi announced that she had been appointed to the Oregon State Fair Commission.

Weeldreyer announced that the McKenzie Watershed Council received approval for its grant from the Bonneville Power Administration for administration.

12. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS

Cornacchia listed the following assignments:

1. Capital improvement projects.

A request to the Sheriff to report on transition from the work camp to the new jail.

2. Legislative Committee Update.

To create scenarios regarding HB 1534.

3. County Administration Announcements.

A request for no assignments from the Board in the immediate future.

On Assignment 1, Van Vactor said it should be a joint report with David Garnick, Senior Management Analyst. Cornacchia agreed.

Van Vactor reminded the Board about an advance meeting for the United Front agenda.

Van Vactor asked the Chair if Policy 61 of the Wetlands Agreement should be referred to the Roads Advisory Committee for a special meeting. Cornacchia replied yes, if possible. Van Vactor said he would consult with John Goodson.

13. EXECUTIVE SESSION

To be held tomorrow.

14. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, this meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.

Recorded by Tarra Withers
Edited by Zoe Gilstrap

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