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January 29, 1997
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Commissioners' Conference Room - 1:30 p.m.

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

13. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Held later in the meeting.

14. OTHER BUSINESS

a. ON THE RECORD HEARING/Hearing Argument on the Appeal of a Hearing's Official Denial of a Request to Allow a Farm-Related Dwelling Within the Exclusive Farm Use Zone (E25/RCP) (PA 4120-95 Ina Saunders).

Weeldreyer outlined the rules of conduct for this hearing. Weeldreyer declared ex parte conducts with Ina Saunders and Jim Evonuk, but stated she had no conversations that would bias her in this process.

Cornacchia arrived at 1:35 p.m.

Bill Sage, Associate Planner, presented an updated file exhibit record. (See material on file). Weeldreyer stated that the first determination to be made was whether to include Item 65 in the record. Cornacchia stated that it is clear from a rules perspective the Evonuks are not allowed to be a party. He questioned that since the Evonuks have been a party to this point, what public policy was being served by taking a rigid approach to code language. He recommended that the Evonuks be allowed as a party of record. Weeldreyer, Dumdi and Green concurred. Sorenson stated that County Counsel should be consulted. Stephen Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, said that the Board does have flexibility and discretion in who it can allow standing. Applicant’s attorney, Anne Davies, agreed that it was not technically appropriate. Sorenson concurred with Cornacchia’s recommendation. MOTION: To give the Evonuks standing in this matter. Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED, VOTE: 5-0.

Sage reviewed the additional exhibits. MOTION: To add Items 67-70 into the record. Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 5-0.

Sage reviewed his agenda memorandum (see material on file). He indicated that the essential matter is what income is included, by whom, and at what location to consider annual gross income. Responding to Sorenson, Sage stated that staff determines value of crop harvested on the property plus added value of processing on the property to be gross income.

Ina Saunders, Applicant, spoke briefly. She declared she has a lot of money tied up on the property and wants a mobile home there to protect against trespass and property damage. Anne Davies, representing Saunders, reserved two minutes for rebuttal, then referred to her memo and the interpretation of the statute. (See material on file). Davies suggested a common sense, logical interpretation. She cited the hearings official’s approach as "making sense." She stated that calculating the value added cost was difficult because the cost before drying is hypothetical. She urged interpretation on the amount of amount of gross sales earned by the flowers, whether dried off site or grown on the property.

Addressing Davies, Cornacchia stated the Board must look at countywide policy regarding value-added crops. He added that Davies was suggesting there is no line defining value-added crop income. Davies responded the line is with the farmer and that two of the last three years would satisfy the statute.

Sorenson asked if a finding determined that the value of the flowers in the field was less than $20,000 in two of the last three years. Davies read the hearings official decision finding that the flowers harvested, after drying and arranging, were valued at more than $20,000. Sorenson asked if Davies was unable to produce information on how much flowers are worth in the field. Davies responded that she didn't try.

Cornacchia asked if new information presented during the reconsideration was about the value of the flowers before drying. Davies said no.

This portion of the meeting was suspended briefly while Cornacchia was excused.

Debra Pilcher, representing Jim and Mary Evonuk, spoke in favor of upholding the Hearing's Official decision. Pilcher cited from ORS Chapter 215 to support her argument. (See material on file). Pilcher stated that the Applicant's interpretation creates an unworkable standard. Pilcher also claimed that the Applicant's remand is inappropriate. Pilcher advocated not to apply policy unless the statute has been determined to be unclear. Cornacchia stated the Board does not do appeals on the merits of a particular case, but rather if it has countywide significance.

Rebutting the appellant's argument, Davies stated that gross sales was a part of SB237 and the issue is where to draw the line in determining value added income. Davies stated this was not an unworkable standard. She emphasized that crops grown on the parcel are what produce the income.

Weeldreyer closed the Public Hearing.

Cornacchia stated that the applicant had five assignments of error, but the Board is only dealing with #2: that the Hearing Officials erred in interpreting the standard to exclude the consideration of profit made from crops requiring processing off-site. Cornacchia pointed out that the Hearings Official agreed that he erred in the interpretation, but that error does not change the outcome in his [Hearings Official] mind. Cornacchia also mentioned Error #5 (Hearings Official erred in rejecting evidence presented by applicant while record remained open), and stated that this would have been the most compelling argument for a remand if the Board sided with the Hearings Official. Cornacchia reported confusion that the Hearings Official stated the record was left open for additional information, but then claimed it wasn't really open. Continuing, he said it was not possible to do a countywide policy stating value added does not apply because there are too many variables with each operation. Cornacchia declared that in this case the tests aren't met and the Hearings Official's common sense approach is correct.

Weeldreyer asked Cornacchia if it would expedite a decision if Saunders and Little determined value added to meet the test. Cornacchia responded if they did that then the answer would be yes, but a different agricultural operation could produce a different result. Cornacchia added that capability of the land is the determining factor, not the relationships formed by owners and tenants of adjoining properties.

Dumdi stated agreement with the Hearings Official determination, and noted that value added later has no bearing. She cited livestock operations as an example. Dumdi suggested that a nursery operation might determine the value of a flower crop on the ground. Dumdi agreed with Cornacchia and Weeldreyer that it would be good to put a house on the property, but this was not the way to do it.

Sorenson agreed with the Hearings Official and stated that the statute is clear on the $20,000 test.

Green expressed agreement with foregoing statements by other commissioners.

MOTION: To tentatively sustain the Hearings Official’s decision and direct Evonuk’s counsel to prepare findings. Green MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED.

Cornacchia asked if there was consensus to support staff’s position regarding value added on site. He emphasized that the findings should not be written to preclude value added in all circumstances. Weeldreyer asked Vorhes if the proposed drafting of the findings was in the spirit of the statute for determining the $20,000 threshold if crops are harvested on the site. Vorhes agreed, but stated there could no guarantees. VOTE: 5-0.

This meeting recessed at 3:03 p.m. to reconvene at 3:10 p.m.

b. DISCUSSION/Impact of MRFs - Closure of Short Mountain Landfill.

Craig Starr and Ken Sandusky presented this item to the Board (see material on file). Sandusky distributed additional material requested by Cornacchia (see material on file), and reported that RRAC voted 11-0-1 for staff recommendation on #1, 10-1-1 on #2, and 11-0-1 on #3. Sandusky reviewed the agenda memorandum (see material on file).

On closure of Short Mountain, Sandusky reported staff findings (see material on file) which concluded that the facility should not be closed because disposal fees at Coffin Butte will negate savings. On the subject of closing the system, Sandusky reported that staff calculated total costs at $10,336,000 (not considering impacts to other funds). (See material on file).

Cornacchia asked John Hire, General Manager, Sanipac, to define the 44,000 tons of material retained at the wet material recovery facility (MRF) after 48,000 tons of dry material is hauled away. Hire explained that it is almost exclusively drop box material from construction sites which goes to Ecosource. The rest of the material goes to the landfill.

Sandusky stated that staff concluded that transfer to Coffin Butte was not a realistic option. Continuing, he noted that staff researched closure of the entire system and concluded the cost to be $4 million to shut down. Sandusky stated closing Short Mountain does not address the problem of competitiveness with the private sector. He maintained that it was the cost of maintaining the rural transfer and recycling programs that reduce competitiveness. Sandusky stated it was staff's recommendation not to close Short Mountain. (See material on file).

Green asked what effect closing the system would have on the leachate problem. Cornacchia said that capping it would reduce it to a smaller amount over time. Sandusky stated the County would have responsibility for a minimum of 30 years after closure, regardless of disposition of property. Sorenson asked what the useful life of Short Mountain would be. Sandusky replied that, with certain design changes, the life could possibly extend to 50 years. Responding to another question from Sorenson, Sandusky indicated that what prompted this discussion was Ecosort’s application in mid-December for modification to their permit for a "wet MRF, " and the trend is for more waste per capita over time, regardless of recycling. Sandusky reported that the Draft Solid Waste Plan has been in process since June, and if the Board decides to keep Short Mountain open, the plan will be revised for a more comprehensive approach.

After querying the Board, Weeldreyer obtained consensus not to close Short Mountain. Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, cautioned that this issue may come back before the Board depending on what happens with the DEQ’s determination.

c. ORDER 97-1-29-8/In the Matter of Directing Staff to Give Testimony to the DEQ Regarding the Establishment of "Wet" MRFs in Lane County.

Sandusky reviewed the agenda memorandum (see material on file). He stated that the current solid waste plan was to provide for countywide service. He reviewed the four sites (where service is critical) in the analysis of downsizing, and recommended not to scale back to four sites, but to oppose the development of wet MRFs based on incompatibility. Weeldreyer asked if it was possible to generate enough additional revenue by having Short Mountain become a wet MRF. Sandusky replied that idea could be explored with a report returned to the board, but he could not comment today. Sorenson asked why Waste Management appeared to be opposed to competition with the private sector. Sandusky said that Waste Management's current role was to provide a countywide service, but if it was determined to change that role, then they would compete with the private sector. Green stated that competition with the private sector in this arena would be a detriment to the county, and he would support the staff recommendation to oppose the expansion and development of wet MRFs. In response to Sorenson's question, Sandusky stated there is nothing in place outside the metro area that would provide alternatives for the rest of the county. Cornacchia stated that past debates on privatization have centered on government’s duty relative to solid waste, tempered by considerations of land use and accountability. Cornacchia stated that he would expect DEQ to get all the material presented today in a comprehensive presentation, and he would support Waste Management staff’s recommendation. Dumdi concurred.

MOTION: Approval of the Order. Green MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. VOTE: 5-0.

Van Vactor urged staff (with regard to testimony before DEQ) to address the criteria.

d. ORDER 97-1-29-9/In the Matter of Directing Staff to Pursue Changes to the Manner by Which Lane County's Solid Waste Management System is Funded.

Craig Starr, Assistant Public Works Director, reviewed his agenda memorandum (see material on file). There was discussion regarding the potential for increasing current tipping fees for self-haulers. Sorenson stated it was a good idea to look at fee structure; and voiced concern about the impact of changes being tied to recycling goals and possible effects from Ballot Measure 47 on Lane County’s ability to change fees. Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, stated that since this program is self-supporting, fee changes would have to be kept in narrow parameters. Sorenson called for public involvement and maximum input from advisory committees.

Starr reviewed the "System Funding Comparison" between Lane County and most other counties (see material on file), noting that many counties and cities in Oregon franchise or license refuse collection and fund a portion of their activity through those fees. Weeldreyer asked Sandusky how the Resource Recovery Advisory Committee voted on franchise fees. Sandusky reported it was 11 in favor, 0 in opposition and 1 abstention. Cornacchia expressed interest in having Waste Management develop scenarios describing impacts and effects on consumers, haulers, cities, with review by the RRAC, and recommendations before pursuing negotiations with cities. The Board concurred with this process. Starr stated that was close to the process he was considering, given the different circumstances for various cities.

Cornacchia stated this order does not address self-hauler fees or excess weight fees, and he wants those items included in the review. The Board concurred. Sorenson noted the impact of these decisions on the overall system, and added he would like comparisons with other counties regarding collection rates and recycling. Cornacchia stated that if higher revenues are received without the anticipated competition from the private sector, then it should be shown where those funds will be assigned. Responding to questions asked earlier, Starr stated converting the central receiving station into a wet MRF facility would be problematical because the cost of maintaining the countywide system negates an increase in competitiveness.

MOTION: Approval of the Order. Cornacchia MOVED, Green SECONDED. VOTE: 5-0.

The Board returned to the morning agenda for items that could not be accommodated in that session.

There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Sharon Giles
Recording Secretary

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