October 27, 1998
JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
LANE COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Commissioners' Conference Room 5:30 p.m.
Steve Moe, Lane County Planning Commission presided, with Commissioners
Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer
present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were
1. DISCUSSION/Lane County Rural Comprehensive Plan Ground Water Provisions.
Kent Howe, Land Management, reported that tonight's proposal is to look at developed
parcels of land, surface water rights, and how to connect the long term availability of
He added a periodic review is a requirement countywide and the information presented
tonight is in a neutral fashion. He said there are antiquated code provisions that need to
be updated for the 21st century.
Jim Mann, Land Management, stated the current code addresses quality and sufficiency
for developed land served, but does not get into the long term impacts on different areas.
He added in looking at creating residential densities in rural areas, development has to
be within groundwater capabilities of that area.
Ralph Christensen, Geologist, EGR & Associates, presented a slide presentation on
ground water. He reported that in the McKenzie and Willamette Valley, the Willamette River
is the primary aquifer for Lane County, and the coastal dams are the next important
aquifer. He said the rest of Lane County has limitations on its water supply. He said LCDC
Goal 5 advises to keep the natural resource base within the carrying capacity. He added
there are alternatives to water use, and with the different sources of water available, it
allows planners to plan on how things should be in the future. He said ground water does
have some limitations, and Lane County has ordinances where there needs to be a
demonstration of adequate water supply. He said the present ordinance was adopted in 1998,
it is the most sophisticated in the state, but flaws make it difficult to adopt some
procedures. He said his final proposal is to take a number of people (hydrogeologists,
engineers and other land use attorneys and consultants) offering all sides of the issues,
then working through the program and giving it to staff. He gave a demonstration on how
well pumping water works. He said the County has to resolve protecting aquifers by not
stopping people from using their wells, but to know their limitations.
Christensen said he recommends a storage system and a small pump so water comes out of
a storage tank. He said a well will last years longer if it is done that way. He said
having water management plans is an alternative in areas where water is tight .
Cornacchia questioned Christensen discussing a private sector response to a problem
associated with development. He asked if the Board of Commissioners might see from this
exercise a recommendation in water limited areas.
Christensen responded if there is not sufficient water, a water management plan can be
used to limit water use.
Cornacchia questioned the methodology for the water quality status of a particular area
because of the dynamic that was discussed about wells.
Christensen responded it is something he is recommending currently to all of his
Cornacchia wanted to know what role the government should play.
Christensen said it is a critical issue the County needs to work with.
Cornacchia asked if there were any volunteers who would be willing to work on this
Christensen responded another hydrogeologist from this area, Melia McKee, volunteered
but he has not been able to contact anyone else. He said he would appreciate as many as
possible, particularly on the technical side as there will be technical issues on drafting
language, and he wanted land use attorneys for their expertise.
Cornacchia asked about the time frame for something for staff to look at and then
forward to the Board of Commissioners for discussion.
Howe responded that March 3 was the final date staff put in their schedule to draft a
proposed amendment. He added with citizen involvement and the Planning Commission, if they
can get those consultants in on both sides, a better product wouldn't be available by that
time. He said there will be some public hearing arguments that will need to take place
before it goes to the Board.
Cornacchia reported he was ready to move forward and state the truth about enough water
for developments, where there must be sufficient water for the development and neighbors.
Weeldreyer questioned Land Management staff about pending applications, and if the
Carol Ott case in Creswell was an uncommon issue.
Howe responded the Carol Ott case was uncommon, but issues they are addressing are
common, countywide. He added no application is on hold that would be amending an aquifer.
Howe said the County is meeting the law and he is starting to see code requirements
requiring developers to establish long term water availability.
Green said he appreciates the fact that there is an outside group taking a look at this
and recognizing the limitation of staff. He wanted to know what staff's role would be.
Howe said there will be another work session to get a reaction from the Planning
Commission and the Board on that draft.
Cornacchia stated the threshold approached by the Board today (whether or not they
agree on the code requirements), should be expanded to consider impact outside the
development area. He said right now the Code states there needs to be enough water for the
applicant. He said this is a way to set standards and requirements outside the area, and
how an applicant demonstrates compliance.
Christensen said there are still parts of this particular code that were not written
right the first time. He added things need to be cleaned up and recommend and appointing
an ad hoc committee. He said they will need to look at alternative sources of developing
water and aquifer storage in need to prepare for the future.
Cornacchia suggested to bring back scenarios for public process for the Planning
Commission to look at. He said they will be expanding the criteria opportunities. He added
he hears they want to expand beyond the applicant's property.
Sorenson said it was a good idea cleaning up the code and making improvement to the
Lane County manual. He said the problems with groundwater contamination and increasing
conflicts over groundwater and drinking water should be solved locally. He agreed with the
development area expanding beyond the applicant's property.
Cornacchia reported what he heard from the Board today is that Christensen's offer is
accepted without limitations and constraints and it will be their expectation that he will
be engaged in a review of the code and a public process that will lead to some code or
ordinance change next year. He thanked Christensen for his offer.
Christensen said people will have to invest in finding out what their development and
neighbors will do through aquifer testing.
Green addressed the potential conflict of interest or self-interest. He stated
Christensen approached the Board in terms of wanting to do this. He added no one
approached him as commissioner other than Christensen and he doesn't remember giving staff
direction to go out and find someone to do this. He added this idea was proposed to in a
Cornacchia recommended that Steve Moe continue this discussion with the Planning
Commission at their next meeting and find out what else needs to be done. He thanked Mr.
Christensen for his time and offer. He added that the Planning Commission has been given
empowerment and direction to bring a report back to the Board during the second week of
There being no further business, Cornacchia adjourned the meeting at 7:05 p.m.
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