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June 23, 1999

REGULAR MEETING - BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Harris Hall Main Floor - 1:30 p.m.

Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Bill Dwyer was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

None.

12. PUBLIC HEARINGS

a. PUBLIC HEARING AND FINAL ORDER 99-6-23-8/In the Matter of Denying Vacating a Portion of County Road Number 108, Pine Grove Road, From Silver Crest Drive, Thence Northerly 1,050 Feet, More or Less, Located Primarily in the Northwest Quarter of Section 25, Township 18 South, Range 5 West, of the Willamette Meridian (18-05-25).

Bob Ezell, Land Management, reported the issue is a petition to vacate approximately 1,000 feet of a segment of Pine Grove Road, signed by 100% of the landowners, abutting the road. He noted on an order to vacate the segment of road, the Board is required by Oregon law to make a determination whether it is in the public’s interest to vacate this segment of County road. He noted the Land Development Review Committee, in the land partition process in 1997, reviewed the land partitions and subdivisions in process. He said additions of approval were then made for the plat. He said during the meeting regarding the Skyridge subdivision, there were statements made by staff in 1977 that the extension of Silver Crest Drive to Pine Grove Road was unlikely due to the steep ground in the area of the unopened segment of Pine Grove Road. He stated that in 1983 the hearings official modified final approval to include that a cul-de-sac be required at the end of Silver Crest Drive. He noted in 1993, the Skyridge Subdivision was platted and only Skyridge Drive and Silver Crest Drive were made public roads, the other three were private roads. He said that Silver Crest Drive aligns with Pine Grove Road. (a 65-foot wide County road that is unconstructed) He noted the main reason to petition to vacate this road was the location of the right-of-way of Pine Grove Road creating a cloud on the property and the only available dwelling site on the property makes it unmarketable. He said the petition provides seven reasons for vacating the road, including a road that is steep with a grade of 16% or higher. He said there are other arguments presented by the petitioner to vacate the order. He said it was represented by Lane County that conditions for approval for the Skyridge plat declaring an extension of Silver Crest Drive is undesirable due to steep slopes. He added in his review of the documentation of the file, they could not find anything in the conditions of approval. He said comments made by County planning staff were that it was unlikely that Silver Crest Drive would be extended due to steep slopes, but it was not a condition of approval. He noted former Commissioner Cornacchia stated the County had previously taken regulatory steps to declare that Silver Crest Drive connection to Pine Grove Road is not in the public interest. He said that John Goodson, Public Works, had maintained that this section of road should not be vacated. He said with regard to opposition of vacation, any future road circulation of Pine Grove Road (if constructed) provides a continuous road between Spencer Creek Road and Silver Crest Drive. He added long dead-end roads are not desirable and discussion in 1977 with County staff about the Sky Ridge Plat did not indicate an evaluation by a highway engineer whether a road could be built on Pine Grove Road, it was more a visual assessment by standing and looking down the slopes. He said using road construction techniques, cut and fill would substantially reduce steep grades to make them acceptable grades. He said it should not be a burden on the County Engineering staff to design a road in an old right-of-way to see if it can or cannot be built. He said the petitioner will substantially gain if the road is vacated and should handle the evaluation and expense. He said it is common for landowners to come to the County to shift existing rights-of-way and replace the existing County road to another location. He noted there is a need to provide wise transportation planning for the future as located in Lane Code 13.05 (continuation of street systems.) He said by looking at the plat, Silver Crest drive was set up to extend the road systems. He added it had not been demonstrated that Pine Grove Road could not be constructed, it had only be surmised that it is steep and would be expensive to construct. He said the petitioners have an opportunity to propose an alternative route to replace the existing County road that is a public asset. He said petitioner will benefit significantly if Pine Grove is vacated. He noted there were seven bills this legislative session that have to do with land use regulations, Senate Bill 454 would provide that there would be no need to show income from the farm as criteria for placement of a home on prime farm or forest lands. He said the recommendation of the public works director along with the transportation planning staff is for the Board to deny the petition to vacate this segment of Pine Grove Road. He added the public cannot benefit if a segment of a road is taken out of a connector road that would provide secondary access in an event of an emergency. He said the Board could adopt the order to vacate the segment of Pine Grove Road or adopt an order to deny the vacation or continue the vacation if there is a need. He said in the event the Board decides to vacate the road, staff would come back with an order on the future agenda to show that the road is vacated. He said the County surveyor staff provided the necessary public notices as required by the statute for this proceeding.

Morrison asked Ezell if he had been out at the site.

Ezell responded that he had not been there but had looked at the plan and profile provided by the petitioner and noted the steep grades of the site. He said with the engineering techniques of cut and fill, the grades could be lessened. He added it hadn’t been determined if a road could be built or not.

Green said he heard about what may happen if there is no interest from the private sector, but wanted to know what the plan was for Lane County.

Ezell responded that it is not in the five year plan and the issue made by transportation and planning is that they should not take a road that provides a road connection out of their transportation system for future transportation.

Sorenson asked Goodson what was the basis of his statement in the preliminary director’s report.

Goodson responded there are two sections of County maintained roads that have been constructed, with a gap in the middle. He added the road doesn’t exist, the right-of-way does.

Sorenson asked what the public interest would be in approving the vacation if it creates two dead-end roads.

Goodson stated they are not recommending that the vacation be approved.

Commissioner Green opened up the Public Hearing.

Steve Cornacchia, 180 E. 11th Avenue, Eugene, stated he represented Mick Arnold, who is the applicant of this request. He said he provided the Board with a packet that had both letters to Mr. Ezell and Mr. Holtcamp and several maps. He noted the copy of the staff report did not have the second half of his letter to Mr. Holtcamp and it didn’t have the entire map of the land use analysis. He stated the primary criteria involved with the application is whether or not the vacation is in the public interest. He suggested to start the analysis by first determining what the public interest is. He stated public interest is determined by Public Works for the connection of the two roads. He noted that that public interest is unlikely and non-existent as the entire area is high value farm land and forest land, zoned F-1. He added there is little if any development potential in the entire area between Pine Grove Road and Briggs Hill Road. He said even if the few properties that could be developed were so developed, they wouldn’t be taking access going into the subdivision, they would be taking access off of Briggs Hill Road. He added Pine Grove Road is not developed up to the point where it shows where it dead-ends. He said Pine Grove Road is one-third developed with a narrow asphalt covering with ditches on each side. He noted to make the connection, the piece of land would have to be built down through the canyon and back up through wetlands. He said this area is over five miles from Eugene’s urban growth boundary, and it will be rural residential and resource lands that will never get to the point where the connection would be needed. He added the road was reviewed and surveyed 100 years ago and the connection hadn’t been necessary. He said looking at land use patterns, he estimated that this would be involving 50 homes and the County is going to spend $250,000 to serve 50 homes, when there are other greater needs and it doesn’t make sense from a public interest standpoint. He stated he was supportive of the staff’s work and responsibilities, but noted that staff placed all of their argument on the fact that Silver Crest Drive is retained as a public road and the other two cul-de-sacs are not. He stated the land use approvals for that subdivision began with a condition of the connection, that the likelihood of ever connecting that road was remote because of the steepness of the terrain. He added the County (as a condition of approval of the subdivision) changed the name of a spur of land from Pine Grove Road to Silver Crest Drive. He said they did that because of the finding that this connection was not feasible and to not create inconsistencies and problems for service delivery people by having roads similarly named but not connected. He added as a condition of the subdivision approval, a cul-de-sac was required at the end of Silver Crest Drive. He stated that the subdivision had still not met its condition of approval and the property owner that purchased a lot in the cul-de-sac had requested that the condition be enforced by Lane County. He added with the condition of the cul-de-sac, it was a regulatory step to end all discussion on the connection because once a cul-de-sac is built, homes would be built and a road be placed through it. He said the County had abandoned all efforts to make the connection because of the steepness of terrain. He said that Mr. Arnold wants the Board to apply the facts, look at the area and the reasonableness of the public interest and he suggested that it doesn’t exist.

Jim Oldaker, 27640 Gibraltar Loop, stated he had owned the property since 1970. He said he looked at the original road (Pine Grove) that was originally deeded as Turtleson Road in the 1900 plat and determined that it was impossible to access. He added he purchased a panhandle property that connected to a property on Gibraltar Loop so he could have access to his property. He said it was so steep (down on the bottom) that the road is about impassible. He said he studied the land for access to his property and gave up. He said that Mick Arnold contacted him to move the road around and he had no problems with it.

Sorenson noted that in the director’s report there was no substitute road realignment being offered. He wanted to know if Oldaker was in agreement that there is no substitute road realignment being offered either through his property or other properties.

Oldaker stated not to his knowledge. He said the property is so steep and he bought the property before land use planning was done. He added he purchased another piece of land to get to his property so it could be usable.

There being no one further signed up to speak, Commissioner Green closed the Public Hearing.

Morrison stated she had been out there and said it was something that needed to be vacated. She said she was comfortable with adopting Option 1, to vacate the portion of Pine Grove Road as described and defined by staff and an Order to Vacate would be prepared for a future date.

MOTION: to approve adopting Option 1, to vacate the portion of Pine Grove Road, as described and defined by staff and an Order to Vacate would be prepared for a future date.

Morrison MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.

Sorenson said if there was a proposal for a vacation of this road but with a substitute road realignment, he would be more inclined to be in favor of this. He said he agreed with the testimony that if the road is impassible and proven to be impassible, he would be more inclined to agree, but not without the substitute road realignment.

Weeldreyer stated that the applicant had made compelling arguments for the rationale to go ahead and vacate this particular portion of Pine Grove Road. She said she would support the motion to vacate the road.

Green stated he had seen the property, and given the allocation of resources, he didn’t foresee the County investing in the particular area given there are other higher needs. He said he would support the request to vacate the property.

VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting)

Ezell stated he would come back with an Order to Vacate and it would probably be on the consent calendar.

Van Vactor noted there was a "no" vote so it would be put on the regular agenda.

13. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

ORDER 99-6-23-9 Settling Claims of Constance Baker, Personal Representative.

Wilson noted that this was litigation where they were able to successfully negotiate settlement.

MOTION: to approve 99-6-23-9.

Weeldreyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0.

There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary

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