APPROVED APPROVED 4/14/99
March 10, 1999
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 6:00 p.m.
Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
13. PUBLIC WORKS
a. SIXTH READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1121/In the Matter of Amending Lane County General Plan Policies (an element of the Lane County Rural Comprehensive Plan) Goal 4 Forest Lands, Policy 5 to Allow Limited Dwellings on Lands Zoned Non-items Impacted Forest Lands, F-1 and Adopting a Savings and Severability Clause.
b. SIXTH READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 4-98/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 16 of Lane Code to Adopt New Provisions to Allow Limited Dwellings on Lands Zoned Non-Impacted Forest Lands, F-1, and Provide Siting and Fire Safety Standards for Those New Dwellings, and Adopting a Savings and Severability Clause (LC 16.210, 16.270).
Dwyer stated they had received a letter from Bahr & Stotter, and the final paragraph in the letter requests the Board to allow the incorporation by reference of all testimony and evidence previously submitted by members of both the April, 1997 and November 1998 Public Hearing on this matter, in order to avoid the need to resubmit materials already presented.
Green stated that people who had testified previously could refer to their previous testimony as it is on the record and it could be incorporated.
MOTION: to allow the incorporation by reference of all testimony and evidence previously submitted by members of both the April, 1997 and November 1998 Public Hearing.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Kent Howe, Land Management, questioned whether dwellings should be allowed on non-impacted forest lands known as the F-1 zone. He said the purpose of tonight's hearing is for citizens to provide the Board with information that will help answer that question. He said the reason they are present is because of the 1993 change in the state law to allow limited dwelling on forest lands. He said in 1994, the Board directed staff to develop additional limitations to the dwelling provisions and siting standards to address forest industry concerns and alternative siting standards. He said numerous Public Hearings, Work Sessions and Public Meetings have been held over the last three years to discuss and deliberate on the proposal. He said Lane County's responsibility in deciding whether or not to allow dwellings, is to balance the need to protect public health, safety, welfare and the forest environment, with the need to protect property rights. He noted if the Board decides that the current prohibition of dwellings on the F-1 lands does not strike that balance, then the Board should decide whether or not the conditions proposed in the ordinance do strike that balance. He added they have developed a checklist to focus the deliberation.
Jim Mann, Land Management, said the purpose of the checklist is to help the Board through the decision making process. He said the threshold decision is: "Should Lane County allow dwellings in the F-1 zone?" He said if the Board decides no, then there is no action that would be necessary on the ordinances. He said if they do pass the threshold decision, then the list of the contents of the ordinance will be open for discussion. He said there are three options for dwellings included in the ordinance: the 160 acre tract, template dwelling and the lot of record dwelling. He added there are siting requirements that are required by Oregon State law in the Administrative Rules, and in addition, there are seven that are unique provisions that Lane County had included in the ordinances. He said the ordinances would probably be the most strict in the state in terms of the siting requirements.
Opal Powell, 4948 Mahalo Dr., read her letter into the record.
Jerry Rust, 3417 N. Russet, Portland, noted that for 15 years there had been a legal, acknowledged, defensible and fair plan and zone for the County. He said when they zoned every tax lot in the County, they did their best to make it fair. He stated he was unhappy with the last Board's process and didn't think there was a thoughtful approach to the matter. He asked the Board to kill the ordinance. He said if they don't want to do that, then let the public of Lane County vote on this matter.
Dan Stotter, 259 E. Fifth Avenue, #5th, Eugene stated he was appearing on behalf of LandWatch Lane County. He said from a substantive perspective, there are two reasons why he believes the Board should reject the proposal. He said the first is that there are subtle, serious problems with the language. He said the proposal takes away authority of rural fire protection districts and puts it in the hands of the planning director. He said it was not a desired outcome from the public perspective. He said the proposal allows the residences to have driveways of 16%, which are inaccessible to the fire safety crews that deal with fire problems. He said currently, the system is working very well and has a mechanism to address dwellings on a case-by-case basis, and it is a system by which the Board has the flexibility. On legality, he said there was a lack of notice as required by law. He said this will have to be done over again because notice was not adequate. He said it is a proposal that is unpopular and does not meet Oregon Land Use Goals and does not comply with the procedures required by law.
Robert Emmons, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, Fall Creek, stated the testimony extending over two years and the editorial staffs of the area's newspapers, opposed putting dwelling units on F-1 lands. He said they noted the cost of roads, increased police and fire protection, and expanded or additional schools. He asked why if there was enough F-2 land to allow dwellings, that this issue continues to occupy the attention of the Board, monopolizing the time and resources of County staff. He said rather than mere followers of state law, Lane County actively participated in creating a bill that would allow dwellings on resource lands. He said timber companies represent 88% of the ownership of non-impacted forest lands. He said Lane County's longstanding role in weakening land use restrictions and its active participation in writing a bill according to timber company interests, makes it clear that no bill had ever been an option. He added the entire process from marginal lands to HB 3661 had been a joint County-timber industry development scheme intended to leave citizens in the dark and holding the bill for infrastructure, police and fire protection. He said citizens of Lane County had enough of monied interests that threatened the air and water, private property and economical well-being. He said a referendum would be certain if the Board votes in favor of putting dwellings on F-1 lands. He said there are other alternatives like system development charges. He said disallowing dwellings on F-1 lands is not only the popular thing to do, it is the right thing to do.
Nena Lovinger, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road., Fall Creek, reported that Lane County is one of two counties in the state that has F-1 zones. She said most counties in the State of Oregon don't have that, so by alleging that all the other counties have opened up their F-1 zones is erroneous. She asked that all testimony from previous hearings and work sessions be brought forward and entered into the record for this hearing. She said the resource land should be protected from fire, slides, poisons, and the scars that homesites would inflict upon it. She said it is important to ensure compliance with rules currently on the books to protect rural areas. She added enforcement is essential or the rules mean very little. She said everyone needs to see themselves as stewards of the land, no matter where people live or what they own. She said it is time for the Board to move forward on projects that will improve livability in the County. She said it was time to implement systems development charges so the developers pay their own way and encourage businesses that give back to the community. She submitted a list of 225 signatures of Lane County residents who urged the Board to continue the current protection of Lane County's F-1 lands.
Cheryle Hawkins, 364 Hawthorne, Eugene, stated she grew up in Eugene. She said she didn't want the day to come when she couldn't drive down River Road and purchase her fresh produce. She added she didn't want the forests to become populated. She said the County can't afford to open F-1 lands to houses. She said low density sprawl would come at a steep price to the taxpayers and the environment. She noted according to County records, approximately 90% of the F-1 land is owned by large corporations and only 10% by private individuals. She added all of Lane County would bear the cost for just a handful of land owners who would benefit from a relaxation of current zoning protection for F-1 lands. She said the rural lands have to be protected, as they produce food, filter water and trees that purify the air. She added there is ample F-2 lands for people who want to live in forest environments. She suggested an inventory of the prime forest and agricultural soils. She asked the Board to preserve Lane County's F-1 forests as the world-class resource that it is.
Chris Berner, 29953 Fox Hollow Rd., Eugene, stated that public opposition to changing the current land use laws is overwhelming. He said last fall a vast majority of people testifying on this issue favored the current F-1 zoning ordinance that protects F-1 lands from the bulldozer. He said a minority of large landholders stand to reap enormous unearned profits at the expense of all Lane County residents. He said that all taxpayers would see increased costs for fire protection, road building, maintenance and school bus service and other infrastructure in prime forest lands, as a result of a change in the law. He said as citizens of Lane County, they must not let this happen. She asked the Board to stop sprawl in Lane County forests and do not allow dwellings on F-1 lands.
John Biancho, P. O. Box 271 Creswell, read his letter into the record. See attached Exhibit "1".
R. Dale Krenek, 39475 Fox Hollow, Eugene, read his letter into the record. See attached Exhibit "2".
Ann Krenek, 39475 Fox Hollow, Eugene, asked the Board to remember if it could be done, it would be done. She said eventually the maximum amount of development will happen. She said there will be permanent loss of non-replaceable forest lands and wildlife habitat. She said there are individual cases that do need to be looked at, but in general, this isn't about a few people wanting to live on the land, it is about allowing a massive surge of development in Lane County. She said there is a growing national interest and concern about quality of life issues in the communities. She added there is a public mandate to support land use laws and in elections, voters have voted for strong land use protection. She said these lands were set aside so that they would be protected in the face of strong developmental pressures.
Rich Fairbanks, 37290 Wheeler Road, Pleasant Hill, said from a forest habitat perspective, the proposal works to degrade habitat in several ways and the increased road density is directly correlated with reductions in habitat effectiveness for elk and it is documented in scientific literature. He said the proposal is a double whammy, because it will impact forest industry workers and will reduce employment in that industry as well.
Alice Doyle, 78185 Rat Creek Rd., Cottage Grove, distributed a packet that contained 42 news stories and 10 editorials from the last 15 months (copy in file.) She requested the Board to demand all the facts before making the decision to open F-1 lands. She noted that the ordinances in front of the Board are different from those proposed at the last meeting of October 14. She submitted testimony into the record. Please see attached Exhibit "3."
Edmond Voder, 394 E. 32nd Ave., Eugene, thanked the Board for holding the hearing in the evening as it allowed for people to participate in the hearing without taking time out from their job, and it improves public participation. He said he is opposed to allowing residences on F-1 lands. He said it is an unnecessary and unneeded change in the zoning regulations that will result in a windfall to large tract forest land owners at the expense of everyone else in Lane County. He said owners of forest lands from 1983 have benefited because the cost of forest land is low and it enhances the profitability of timber production. He said all people who bought F-1 lands knew it was only suitable for timber production. He added to allow development on F-1 lands will be at the expense of the rest of Lane County because the development requires costly infrastructure for roads and new schools. He said the ownership of land has never been a firm concept involving a fixed set of rights. He said it is only through government regulation that land can be owned in the first place. He said good land regulation serves to enhance the value and enjoyment of land for everyone. He added allowing a few individuals or businesses to profit from their land at the expense of others is poor public policy.
Linda Pauley, P. O. Box 1351, Eugene, stated that the development of F-1 lands would encourage an irresponsible and expensive growth pattern that is not in the interest of the citizens of Lane County. She added allowing the change in the land use laws (without conducting any study on the impact to taxpayers) is irresponsible government. She asked the Board to be responsible and not allow a growth pattern to unfold across the County. She said Oregon's land use program is an exemplary model for other areas in the County. She said it is time to be conservative, to slow down and figure out how to pay for development. She asked the Board to vote against opening up F-1 lands to development. She added to let the owners that have legitimate needs live on their forest lands to manage it, and to let them be heard on a case-by-case basis. She asked the Board not to give the corporate owners a reason to subdivide their lands and sell homesites, rather than reforest.
David Montgomery, P. O. Box 477, Noti, stated that he is a forest land owner and most of the testimony he had heard tonight was pure hogwash. He said there are two basic issues at hand, property rights and social engineering. He added the animal habitat is another issue and having a dwelling on forest land degrades animal habit. He said he had heard panic tonight, but there did not need to be.
John Moriarty, 342 Rosewood Avenue, Eugene, stated he is the chair of the Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club and he was speaking on behalf of its 2,300 members. He noted there had never been clear information presented on either the environmental or financial costs of the changes. He said there had been no convincing argument of the need to loosen the zoning restrictions. He said the County is attempting to fix something that is not broken. He said it is their concern that the proposed fix has the potential to be damaging. He said the forests need to be protected and the way to do that is to vote no on the two ordinances, and put the issue to rest.
Emily Shue, 3122 Willamette, Eugene, stated she was representing the League of Women Voters of Lane County. She said the League of Women Voters of Lane County wanted to express its strong opposition to allowing rural homesites in forest lands that are zoned F-1. She noted that water pollution had not been mentioned. She said with development comes a higher level of pollution that comes from runoff of the soils. She said these are the issues that need the be thought about and for the Board to vote no on expanding housing in F-1.
Greg Hume, 31356 Lynx Hollow Rd., Creswell stated that F-1 is about corporate greed.
Lee Downing, 39468 Wendling Road, Marcola, stated he owns about 400 acres of timber growth with a ranch. He said this puts a hardship on his family because there are already so many restrictions on the land. He added that is why there are less people in the ranching and timber business. He said he is for opening lands to F-1 development.
Pam Gutherie, 705 #. 38th, Eugene, stated people can build on F-1 lands on a case-by-case basis and build a dwelling. She said the two ordinances do not comply with statewide planning goals. She said many sections of the ordinance do not meet critical state requirements. She submitted a list of her testimony (copy in file). She said it was imperative to stop the process.
Alan Petersen, 39188 Upper Camp Creek Rd., Springfield, stated he has a vested interest in the land. He said he and his brother believed in good stewardship of the land and have practiced that. He said his timber land nearest to where he lives gets the best care. He said it is the matter of logistics and time. He said some of the large timber tracts are well maintained but he is convinced that smaller ownership would take better care of it. He favored allowing F-1 dwellings, which will increase timber.
Don Hanson, 90029 Marcola Rd., Springfield, stated he lived on 1400 acres for 60 years. He said he has suffered from restricted zoning. He said there are less than 2,000,000 acres of prime land. He said 97% of private land in the state is zoned into farm and forest zones that are marginal lands, but could be used for rural living and other rural uses that do not require urban services. He said he is for allowing houses on open land that is now zoned F-1.
Leroy Peterson, 39112 Upper Camp Creek Rd., Springfield, stated he had been a lifetime resident of Lane County. He said most of the land in the twenties was homestead ground and during the depression the land went back for taxes. He said allowing people to live on 160 acres was not new. He said with the restrictions, there will not be an urban sprawl, there would be a limited number of parcels. He added that there will be the possibility of people owning land and being able to be a good steward of the land. He said he can't sell his family any of his acreage and allow them to live on the land and manage it. He asked the Board to consider these points in their decision and allow some dwellings on F-1 lands.
Jeff Johnson, 474 Willamette, Eugene, stated he does not want development in F-1 lands. He said everyone is entitled to engage in the protection of natural resources without having to pay additional costs.
Mary Ann Holser, 2620 Crest du Ruta, Eugene, stated she is a member of the Budget Committee and is concerned about the extra infrastructure costs if the rural areas are developed. She added planning is about the future and about the growth of Lane County. She said opening the lands is to fix something that isn't broken. She said people can build homes on a case-by-case basis and there is flexibility.
Gordon Howard, P. O. Box 775, Pleasant Hill, read his letter into the record. Please see attached Exhibit "3".
George Gessart, 1280 Broadway, Eugene, read his letter into the record. Please see attached Exhibit "4".
Conrad Hildebrand, 24787 Lavell Rd, Junction City, stated he lives on F-2 farm and timber land and has interest in F-1 land. He said he requested an F-1 zoning and was given an F-2. He said opening F-1 land to housing does not cost the County anything, because the County had not paid for anything out his way. He wanted to know what the forest lands will be protected from. He said from listening to people tonight, the forest lands will have to be protected from people. He asked the Board not to be fooled by people who do not have timber land and do not want anyone else to have it. He asked the Board to let people live on their own land.
Jim Baker, 51013 McKenzie, Fir Rock, read his letter into the record. Please see attached Exhibit "5".
Neil Miller, 21215 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene, stated he has 130 acres of F-2 forested land. He said if the people are saying smaller lot sizes are more productive, they would realize the only people who could afford 80 acres of clear-cut land, (putting a modest home on it) are wealthy people. He said he has a lot of empathy for small woodlot owners. He urged them to stop complaining about not living on their land or apply for a variance. He urged the Board to vote against this item.
Kathy Ging, 2878 Harris, Eugene, stated she is opposed to increasing the residential building of F-1 lands. She said it is hard as a country property realtor to sell land near the proposed landscapes. She said this is only the beginning of building small subdivisions with roads that are in poor condition. She said the Board would be making a mistake and misreading the will of their constituents if they allow these changes to occur.
Ken Falk, 35240 McKenzie View, Springfield, stated he is a forester and a small woodland owner. He said in 1997 there was a survey from the Small Woodlands Association and one of the things they asked the small woodland owners statewide was: "What was the most important item on their mind as far as being a small woodland owner?" He said number one response was the ability to live on their land. He said over 82% of small woodlands owners said that living on their land improves the management of the land. He said other counties in Oregon don't call it F-1 lands, they call it a forest conservation zone, where it as allowed to have houses. He urged the Board to vote for this item.
John Humber, 25322 Perkins Road, Veneta, stated he had not testified in front of the Board before and is a timber cutter. He encouraged the Board to postpone voting on this and to get input from FEMA. He said there is nothing to be gained by living on forest land, even if it were managed. He added that 160 acres with a large house could not be considered anything other than an expensive hobby farm.
Maryrae Thomson, 86899 Central Rd., Eugene, said her family has owned a large piece of property and they actively managed it with timber and livestock production. She said it is accurately zoned F-1. She said her options as of last year were to manage it for the timber, clear cut it and pay the estate taxes or to sell it for the estate taxes. She said she chose to manage it and it means she and her husband have to drive 60 miles round trip everyday to manage it. She said it takes intensive care to do it right, and she has for quite a few years. She said she had not been able to find a way to live on the site. She said the F-1 policy needs some flexibility. She said she is not in favor of urban sprawl, but it would be okay for some people to have business on their lands.
Austin Pitcher, 175 E. 36th, Eugene, stated his experience is like Thomson. He said he was born on the land he owns and works it day in and day out. He said he takes care of what he has and he is being zoned out of existence. He spoke in favor of the 160 acres for F-1 and a marginal zoning area for the County.
Robert Saltsgaver, 31841 Cedar Creek, Cottage Grove, stated he had been in Eugene for 54 years and worked on the railroad and has an F-1 parcel of 34 acres. He said in 1946 there was a home on it and when he bought in 1993, all that was left was a few rocks where the house use to be. He said he wanted to get the property rezoned or get the commissioners to vote yes on this change, so he could put a home on his property.
Jerry Betz, 1071 Harlow Road, Springfield, for Dale Riddle of Seneca, said that Riddle is still recommending support of the ordinance. She said a lot of people have come into her office to try to get a dwelling on their F-1 property. She said they had not done a zone change from F-1 to F-2 since it was adopted in 1984. She said this situation is not a win-win for everybody, some people may lose, but it is a good compromise.
Mike Evans, 1071 Harlow Road, Springfield, stated he doesn't entirely support the ordinance because some of the provisions are too restrictive.
Gary Rayor, was not present but asked that his letter become part of the record.
John Kline, 693 W. 10th Ave., Eugene, stated he strongly urged a no vote on this proposal to allow homes on F-1 lands, because construction on the land will create a significant number of hidden costs for services that will eventually be passed on to taxpayers. He said construction of homes on F-1 lands establishes a negative precedent for other uses of timber lands by companies that are able to hire attorneys to create endless litigation for the County. He said it will create conflicts between F-1 homeowners and owners of other adjacent properties, and allowing homes on rural properties undermines Oregon's historic reliance on urban growth boundaries to contain growth and sprawl. He urged the Board to vote no on this proposal.
Michael Balk, 260 West "J" St., Springfield, stated he has lived in the County for 30 years and owns forest land. He said the County is not facing up to its responsibilities if more people are allowed to live in the woods.
John Corliss, 2998 Washington St., Eugene, stated he had testified before. He said last time he talked about a soil survey report. He asked the Board to use the limitations that are in the soil survey report. He said he hopes this issue is dead.
Commissioner Green recessed the meeting for six minutes.
Larry Gildea, P. O. Box 87, Dexter, stated he was in favor of the proposals and urged the Board to vote yes for both proposals.
Wendy Mechlina, 91113 Marcola Rd., stated she came from California 25 years ago. She said she is in favor of this because if people buy land, they have a right to do what they want with it. She said she didn't think what was proposed will have a bad effect on the land, as it is a moderate proposal. She urged the Board to adopt the proposal.
Paul Atkinson, 2688 Powell Rd., Eugene, stated he is a lifelong resident, farmer and forest land owner. He said it is the Board's responsibility to make land use decisions knowing that air, soil and water are of limited supply. He suggested taking a case-by-case basis for landowners. He said if there are going to be changes, to make them positive and think real costs and sustainability, and if changes can't be made for the better, not to make them at all.
Lee Weichselbaum, 945 Fir Acres, Eugene, stated he lived in Eugene for 15 years and was active in the development and adoption of the comprehensive plan for the lower McKenzie zoning. He said he owns F-1 zoned land in Lane County. He said the F-1 zone has been in place and they shouldn't go back. He said he is against this ordinance.
Herbert Bohl, 77040 Blacks Dr., Cottage Grove, stated that everything had been said except he can sympathize with the people that had a small piece of land they couldn't develop. He said he sees restrictions if the ordinance passes.
Albyn Pearn, 6561 Mercer Lake Road, Florence, stated he received a postcard and it changed his attitude about these evening's meeting. He read the card and it said: "Forest Sprawl Alert, Lane County Board of Commissioners is revisiting the F-1 issue tonight, once again the Board could vote to open up Lane County's 690,000 of protected prime forest resource land to development." He said that Bobby Green may be the swing vote. (He submitted the card for the record.) He said there were 225 to 250 sites that would fall into this category as it currently stands. He said it is an emotional appeal and one of terms that jumps out at him as a forest land owner is the term "prime forest land." He said it is not all high grade soil and a distortion that the opening would cause major development. He asked the Board to make their decision on facts and over look the highly emotional and not well-grounded testimony.
Moshe Immerman, 3455 Onxy, Eugene, stated he would like to have the timber economy to have a resurgence here. He said if the Board votes yes on the proposal, the industry won't be able to go in that direction. He asked the Board to work for the greatest good for the greatest number and vote no on F-1.
Mayo Finch, E. 17th, Eugene, said the forests are beautiful land. He said he wanted to know who really wanted to get houses built in the forest. He said they are the ones who deserve to have it. He said the Board could pass it, but to make sure the scrutiny that goes with it is tough.
John Bouguess, 38410 Hwy 58, Dexter, stated he is against the change because Lane County is running out of space and what Oregon's future should be.
Curtin Mitchell, P. O. Box 27, Lorane, stated that nobody likes regulations and he owns F-1 and F-2 lands. He said he is willing to live with regulations if they are for the common good and for the most people. He said this proposal is poor and he is against it.
Chris Atneave, 85328 Willamette, Eugene, stated if F-1 is misclassified, it is able to be remedied. She urged the Board not to make the change. She said she was in favor of responding to cases of individual need, but not to change all the rules.
Misha Seymor, 1313 Lincoln, #306, Eugene, stated it was a tragedy that people who own forest land can't build houses on it. He said the Board has to do what is the best interest of everyone.
There being no one further signed up to speak, Commissioner Green closed the Public Hearing.
Dwyer wanted to know if someone could build on F-1 lands under the current provisions, and what it took to site a dwelling on the lands.
Howe replied under current County regulations, a person could not place a dwelling on the land. He added if they are located in an area that is surrounded by F-2 zoned lands, or on the fringe of an area that has F-2 zoned lands, they may be able to rezone if it is a small parcel (80 acres or smaller) to F-2 designation, which does authorize dwellings under certain prescribed conditions.
Green stated his goal tonight is to bring this to closure.
Weeldreyer thanked the people who came, sent E-mails or made phone calls. She said she had listened well and did not come with preconceived notions, but was open to what the people of Lane County had to say in terms of public policy. She stated that from the beginning, she had tried to find a balance in the spectrum that was passionate. She said she was strongly against people who worked so hard to pass House Bill 3661, because of fire concerns and overdevelopment of the forest lands. She said that the ordinances, if passed tonight, would mean that Lane County would still have the most restrictive forest zone in the entire state. She noted there are over 310,000 people in Lane County and from her experience it was LandWatch who had consistently brought forth good information that she respected. She also heard from small woodlot owners and large timber property owners. She said those people made their case very well and articulately tonight. She said what concerned her was the vast majority of what had been reported in the media had not been feature stories that gave descriptions of the people who were going to be impacted the most. She said it is the court of public opinion. She said she doesn't believe that the story had been told in a way that takes out the emotion. She added another issue was the proposed zone change of non-forest property owners in the County greatly exceeding the number of people who do own timber. She noted that zoning change on a case-by-case basis is moot under the current ordinances and is expensive. She said the vast majority of the forest in Lane County is in public ownership and the few parcels that have opportunity for private ownership are asking for building a homesite on their property. She said the people elected her to serve as the East Lane Commissioner, wanted a voice for rural Lane County, and that is what she tried to do tonight. She said she is trying to find a balance so Lane County will not turn into the West Hills of Portland or the Oakland Hills or Seattle. She said this item is a good compromise and she hoped that the press will tell the full story.
Dwyer noted that it was good to listen to the people with passion on both sides of the issue. He stated he had dealt with the issue on the state level for a number of years and it is not easy. He questioned if this was an opportunity for people to make a buck at the expense of sound public policy and added there is a responsibility beyond a short term gain. He said he has a better solution. He said he wants to either pass it or put it to bed before he talks about other alternatives. He said this ordinance is not the answer to anyone's problems. He said the industrial timber industry had told him personally that they are in the fiber business, they grow timber and they don't want to put at risk their industrial timber base because of the interface between the urban/ rural character of the land and the danger of fire that relates to that. He said they told him they didn't want the opening of F-1 lands. He said it is necessary to find a way to help people who are really stewards of their land, who have a history of protecting the land base and helping the needy and forgetting the greedy. He added a sincere mechanism needs to be developed.
Sorenson stated the hearing was conducted very well and when people are treated with respect, they respond in kind. He added fundamentally, the process is deeply flawed and he wouldn't say whether he agreed or disagreed with the legal objections that had been made. He noted that two of the Board members took office in January of this year and have the full right as commissioners to exercise all the power any other commissioner has. He said when a public hearing began in the term of one cycle of the Board it was those people who had heard all of the evidence and had participated who should make the decision. He said it is fundamentally unfair for the public to have testified on these issues. He said the rules should be the same as congress or the Oregon Legislature, where at the beginning of a two-year session, something is introduced, hearings are held, discussions are had and the people who were participating (elected for that two year period) make that decision. He said that is the primary reason for voting no and holding this hearing. He declared it bothers him that this much public time, money and effort had been expended on a proposal that benefits a few people and drives the Board away from issues like affordable housing and poverty. He said he is a strong supporter of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and private property rights and nothing by the public through proper government regulating is in any fashion inconsistent with those private property rights. He said the support for land use laws is greater now than at any time in Oregon history. He stated he had constituents who were adversely affected by the existing system and he is sympathetic to examining the land use laws that would allow property change from F-1 to F-2, so a house could be built on it. He added that nothing in the proposal does that. He said it is a complete whole scale change in the way the County has run the forest zone for F-1. He said the public is justifiably upset. He said there is fear that Lane County is on the verge of becoming another San Jose and destroying the very thing that people came to enjoy. He said it is in the public interest to defeat the measure for both the procedural matter and to support livability as a concept. He recommended that those who had been adversely effected try to craft something for the Board. He said they should be looked at on a case-by-case basis so the Board can solve their problem without destroying the integrity of the whole thing.
Morrison thanked Sorenson for being concerned about her not being involved in the whole process, but she didn't agree with him. She said she had followed the process all the way through and she is competent enough to make the decision with the information that was left by her predecessor, and going through the information and evaluating all of the testimony that had been given. She showed a list of all of the property owners of F-1 land and said that not one contacted her about swaying her opinion. She said they allowed her to make the decision on the information that she had in front of her. She said she received information about people opposed to F-1, of whom a lot testified tonight. She added that was double duty, not only in written form, but some actually contacted her one-on-one and had concerns about who was biased and who was not. She said bug infestation and underbrush are tremendous when looking at fire hazards, not only on private F-1 lands, but also public F-1 lands, whether they are built on or not. She said she had seen the erosion of public lands completely off base as far as forest management and timber management are concerned. She added she has seen private property rights become a thing of history and she is not willing to let it go further and would support this proposal, and may not support all of the restrictions.
Green asked questioned where the middle ground was and said the flaw is in the process. He said the Board directed staff to work with representatives of the forest industry and he didn't know what the composition of that group was. He said unless there is a better process, the public hearing tonight (and the other five hearings) did not lend itself to getting a good product. He said they don't get a comment on the issue and it is troublesome to him because he would rather have a process where the stakeholders are involved in meaningful dialogue prior to this type of public hearing so that all the issues are discussed. He added people that own property need to be involved in the process. He said he hadn't heard very much about the merits of the arguments. He said his concern is that they had not had a meaningful process. He said his previous position still stands in terms of reviewing them on a case-by-case. He said some of his colleagues and other people in the community may not appreciate it, but he thinks there are opportunities where there are surrounding properties where it could happen. He said he is not in a position at this point in time to approve this.. He said he has a lot of empathy for people who own property who are paying the taxes and have the burden of maintaining the property. He said there needs to be good public policy so a landowner will know what they are dealing with. He said they do not have a majority to go beyond the first question.
Green asked the Board if dwellings should be allowed in F-1 zone. By a show of hands, three said no, two said yes. He said a majority said no, but it may not hold for the future.
Stephen Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, stated the Board still has before it an ordinance that had not been voted on.
Dwyer moved that the action on the ordinance be postponed indefinitely.
Vorhes responded that it basically means to table it but it could come back at any time.
Dwyer noted that a motion to postpone indefinitely is a motion that takes precedence over most other motions. He said it is a debatable motion, final in its form and can't be reconsidered. He said it is a way to put things to sleep without having to take a position on the issue itself. He said that is where the Board needs to go right now. He said it is not on the table, it can't be removed from the table, and it can't be reconsidered under Robert's Rules of Order. He said he can move to reconsider it.
Vorhes noted that ordinances can come back, but the motion may not be reconsidered or debated.
Dwyer stated the hearings on the ordinances puts a final form to what they are doing tonight. He said once they decide to put this to sleep, they haven't solved the problem and need to think about how they will address maintaining the integrity of the County, recognizing property rights and the reasonable expectation that the people had at the time they bought their property. He said there is a solution and he talked with Kent Howe and Jim Mann about what his idea would look like. He said the motion to postpone is not the motion to table and it will take a whole new mechanism to start it over again. He stated he would withdraw his motion.
Sorenson withdrew his second.
MOTION: to approve Ordinance PA 1121 and Ordinance 4-98.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
ROLL CALL VOTE: 2-3 (Green, Sorenson, Dwyer dissenting)
Green stated that their staff is limited, and given their limited resources, they did their best job to disassociate any personal opinions around this and gave their best judgment and professional expertise. He said that is why he criticized the process as it was because they didn't have the luxury of other entities to put forth a lot of people. He thanked them for their work. He added he would support a process that would lend itself to having a product come back. He asked Dwyer to process his idea through Land Management.
Dwyer stated Land Management knows about his product, that is based on principles and the constitution, and not taking anything away from anyone, but what they could have reasonably expected to do with the land when they bought it.
Green asked that the Board have a work session to discuss what Dwyer is proposing. He said he wants Land Management to do a scoping, but doesn't want to create extra work. He said if it doesn't include the stakeholder (as he framed it earlier) consultants, preservationists, the property owners, and a good balance, he would not support it.
14. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 9:50 p.m.
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