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Approved 4/25/00

April 12, 2000
JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AND EUGENE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6:00 p.m. - Eugene City Council Chambers

PRESENT: Lane County Board of Commissioners: Peter Sorenson, presiding with Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Cindy Weeldreyer.

PRESENT: Eugene City Council: Mayor Jim Torrey, presiding with Scott Meisner, Gary Rayor, Pat Farr, Bobby Lee, Betty Taylor, Gary Pape, David Kelly and Nancy Nathanson.

1.    PUBLIC HEARINGS

a.    SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance PA 1107 Amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan by Adopting New or Revised Wetland Designations for Various Sites Within the Plan Boundary and Related Policy and Text Amendments, and Adopting a Severability Clause.

b.    SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance PA 1108 Amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan by Adopting New and Revised Wetland Designations for Site H2, Referred to as the Speedway Site, and Related Policy and Text Amendments, and Adopting a Severability Clause.

c.    SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance PA 1109 Amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan by Adopting New Wetland Designations for Site HG, Referred to as the Hyundai Site, and Related Text Amendments, and Adopting a Severability Clause.

Mayor Torrey opened the Public Hearing for the Eugene City Council. He noted that testimony would be accepted on all three ordinances.

Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing for the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He read all three ordinances into the record. He noted that testimony would be accepted on all three ordinances.

Neil Bjorklund, City of Eugene, stated that he distributed copies of written testimony that had been received prior to the hearing. He said there was an old batch from the hearing process in 1998 and they are site-specific written testimony that is being introduced into the record for the site-specific proceeding. He added there are 575 postcards addressed to the council and the board stating support for the planning commission’s recommendation on the Hyundai site.

Bjorklund recalled that the process started in 1996 with a series of public hearings before the Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions. He noted that both planning commissions made recommendations on all of the amendments, some were site specific and some were policy and text amendments. He added that all policy and text amendments have been adopted with the exception of the few included tonight and those are policy or text amendments that relate to a specific site. He noted the decision was made earlier to defer those and consider them with the site amendments.

Bjorklund stated tonight before the elected officials is a package of amendments that reflect the recommendations of the Lane County and Eugene Planning Commissions with a few exceptions. He reported since the last meeting of the elected officials, staff had relooked at all of the sites in the amendment package under the new criteria that were adopted last year by the council and board. He said for the most part, the sites did not change. He noted the recommendations from the planning commissions were consistent with staff’s analysis with the new criteria and staff did not recommend any changes. He added there were exceptions that fell into four categories. He said some that were undesignated in the plan have been filled. He noted there are some sites on which staff is proposing utility corridor status in which the wetland continues to be protected but utility maintenance and repairs are allowed. He said there are a couple of sites that had not been mapped when the planning commission did the review, and in staff’s analysis under the new criteria, the recommendation was no longer consistent, so they recommended a change.

Bjorklund reported the amendments are organized into three separate ordinances and they are being considered together for the public hearing. He noted the speedway and Hyundai site have their separate ordinances and all other sites and text amendments are lumped together. He added the decision on the amendments is made within the context of a land use planning process that has two levels of criteria: for designating the wetlands and for amending a refinement plan. He read the criteria from Eugene Code 9.145 (2) to be applied for those types of amendments. He noted the ordinances given to the elected officials contain findings that address each amendment and approval criteria.

Bjorklund announced that he sent out public notice 22 days ago, notified all the affected property owners, owners of wetlands in the West Eugene plan area and all of the interested parties from all of the previous hearings. (Over 1,000 addresses are on the mailing list.) He added the elected officials will not take action tonight and the public record will close if there is no request to keep the record open for written comments. He said the Eugene City Council deliberation and action for the amendments are scheduled for June 12, 2000 and the Lane County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to deliberate on June 28, 2000. He noted an error in the packet that went to the elected officials: in the speedway site ordinance, Exhibit C on page 12, the heading "proposed criteria" should be "adopted criteria."

PUBLIC HEARING

Greg Dahn, 2555 W. 22nd Avenue, Eugene, stated he is a fourth generation Oregonian and he was laid off from the timber industry. He said he wasn’t able to get a job in Oregon and worked in New Jersey. He said he was able to get a job in 1996 at Hyundai and move his family back from New Jersey. He stated that Hyundai provided good jobs for people. He asked the elected officials to allow Hyundai to do what was promised to them.

Neale Hyatt, 740 Madison, St., stated the issue is not jobs, but a choice of where to put the jobs, knocking out wetlands for jobs, or taking more appropriate places to create jobs. He said wetlands have to be protected as they are a state goal. He said he was in favor of the proposed changes for the wetlands. He noted that Hyundai had conditions associated with their permit to build phase one and they were to do restoration on site (southeast corner). He said it hadn’t been done, but it was a condition of the permit. If it had been done, he wanted the elected officials to see how successful it was and to note the condition of the wetlands now.

Shawn Boles, 105 N. Adams, Eugene, noted the wetlands designated for protection and restoration have been approved by the Eugene Planning Commission twice, twice by the Lane County Planning Commission and once by the Eugene City Council. He said that Hyundai had known since the inception of their building that they could not build phase three on the property. He said the community expects and requires Hyundai to abide by the plans. He said he hopes the Lane County Commissioners will honor Eugene’s decision and the Lane County Planning Commission’s recommendations to protect the long-term public good over the short-term private gain. He stated if Lane County does not approve the amendments, the City has the opportunity and legal right under the Metropolitan Plan Amendment Process to generate additional plans for wetlands inside the city, to be adopted by the council as an independent entity. He said there needs to be a balance between jobs, wetlands, economic development and the environment. He said the balance in West Eugene has been in the wrong direction.

Ruth Demler, 1745 Fircrest, Eugene, noted that the League of Women Voters of Lane County supports the effort to protect and preserve wetlands and the League urges elected officials to approve all the suggested additions to the West Eugene Wetland Plan. She added that nationally the League has been involved in many wetland projects. She discussed a video that the League had produced on the Eugene Stream Team. She noted that Eugene’s wetlands are recognized all over the country. She thanked the elected officials for their support of the video. She added the league recognizes the importance of the remaining wetlands for flood control, water purification and habitat for wildlife. She asked the elected officials to support the proposal for wetland preservation for the community.

Edward Aster, 845 Willamette, Eugene, said if the wetland designation is changed, there will be a negative impact on other developments like his Westec Business Park. He said if Hyundai goes away, many other companies will leave the area or will be forced out of business. He said big business is not bad and Eugene is relying on the high tech industry now and in the future. He said that the business cycle will change again and companies need to be in Eugene. He added that up to 3,000 jobs could be affected and asked elected officials to look hard and seriously at the future of job opportunities and growth for families in the Eugene area.

John Lively, 1830 Willowcreek Circle, Eugene, representing Hyundai, distributed a letter from Hyundai on the analysis since the new criteria was adopted in the West Eugene plan. He said they were supportive of the plan and with some minor recommendations they will be successful. He showed pictures of the site. He noted they had been working on the site since construction in 1995 and production in spring of 1998. He said they are discussing eight acres that are necessary and justified to build the three phases they wanted and needed in order to be competitive in the long term. He said that phase two contains 37 acres or 18% of the site that is available for building. He said they are suggesting adding eight acres south of the east-west ditch which would total 66 acres over the long term. He added of the 205 acres, they are suggesting that 103 be designated developed, and 102 be designated for protection or enhancement.

Andy Peters, 4942 Hunters Glen Drive, Eugene, said he was speaking as a taxpayer and a businessperson. He said he is the General Manager of the Hilton and they employ 250 people. He said the issue is about the delicate balance between economic and environmental issues. He stated that Hyundai is an important and good community citizen that is a great part of the economy of the city and the county. He hoped there is a win-win solution for Hyundai and the citizens.

Bob O’ Brien, 3525 Gilham Road, Eugene, noted that the West Eugene Wetland Plan criteria have changed very little since 1992. He added that twice the Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions have designated the Hyundai site to be protected and restored and not developed. He noted that it echoed early findings by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Division of State Lands. He urged the elected officials to abide by those rules. He quoted from the Sierra Club Newsletter about wetlands.

Deborah Michaels, 1193 Van Buren Street, Eugene, stated she thinks it is a citizen’s responsibility to follow issues that affect the legacy for children. She said the West Eugene Wetlands represent that because they are unique. She added the wetlands require stewardship and children will receive inspiration from them. She urged all political leaders and agencies involved to spend time in the wetlands. She urged the elected officials to not allow a "play our way or we will leave tactic" or feel pressured or bullied in decision making. She added that no one wins if loopholes are used and rules are viewed as a whittling project to slowly change, or if special exceptions are granted again and again.

Jan Spencer 1266 W. 5th, Eugene, stated that Hyundai is not a citizen as it does not live and breathe as a person does. He said the people who work at Hyundai are citizens. He noted that only 1% of the Willamette Valley Wetlands prairie remains and compared it to forest clear cuts. He said these wetlands should be protected and restored. He added only the people who have a direct financial benefit to the factory gain anything. He urged the Board to maintain the direction to protect and restore the wetlands.

Jim Reed, 37370 Wallace Creek Road, Jasper, stated he has a Masters in Fresh Water Biology and moved to Jasper to live on a wetland. He said the Hyundai site is relatively isolated from others because roads and streets have dissected it. He said it is adjacent to existing developments that are served by streets. He added the site has frontage on major highways or streets. He said the protection criteria is interrelated, and if it is a valuable wetland, it is in the floodplain and has unique wetland plants. He asked the elected officials to use common sense and stop the destruction of the last remaining wetlands in the valley.

Mike Farthing, P.O. Box, 1147 Eugene, stated he represents the owner of the speedway site. He requested the record remain open for two more weeks as the amount of material was voluminous. He added they want to put their comments in summary fashion in a written response. He said they are generally supportive of the staff’s recommendation for the speedway property but there are still a few problems. He said it is important to get the plan adopted as there is a need for certainty for the West Eugene Wetlands Plan and the mitigation banking program. He noted the new criteria as applied to the speedway are subjective. He said the present recommendation jeopardizes one of the two approved access points onto West 11th. He said the ribbon driveway and the speedway itself are not wetlands and are developable properties. He said they were concerned about jeopardizing the access point because it is a valuable property right. He added that ODOT needs to issue a new road access permit for increased development. He noted on page 8, of Exhibit B, Statewide Goal Findings, there is discussion of the impact of commercial lands inventory which indicates that 10 acres will be removed by protection of wetlands in the amendments. He stated that they support acquiring and restoring the actual speedway sites and working with the various regulatory agencies to do that.

Phil Scoles, P. O. Box 3558, Portland, stated he was a consultant for the owner of the Eugene Speedway. He noted that no other city in the state had done as much as Eugene in terms of wetland protection and it sets a standard for other cities to follow. He reported that the Eugene Speedway property was eliminated from the approval by DSL and the Corps of Engineers a number of years ago because there was insufficient information to determine whether or not a recommendation could be made for developing or protecting. He said the only thing that was designated on the speedway property was a small area at the southeast corner as a protected zone. He added the City parceled up the speedway property on areas that had been previously plowed or mowed and where there was a presence of sensitive or rare plants. He commented that the speedway property (135 acres) is more complex as there are issues of surface drainage and habitat quality. He added that none of that information is part of the public record, nor has the speedway owner been requested to provide that information. He said it is premature to have the City put designations on such a big and complex site. He requested the elected officials reject the ordinance and not approve the amendments related to the speedway. He added the criteria being applied to the site could be widely interpreted, as there is a criteria that relates to being hydrologically connected to other wetlands and waterways. He stated the property needs to be evaluated in pieces and defining those pieces would be more accurate and reliable. He requested the record be held open so additional information could be provided.

Raymer Holtan, 5003 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, WA, representing the Eugene Speedway, reported he has been involved with the property for three years. He stated he couldn’t support the staff report. He supported the efforts that are taking place and wants to see the process brought to a conclusion. He said that staff is seeking to protect more property than is appropriate or necessary for a desirable balance between preservation and development. He said that staff’s proposal effectively denies access to 14 acres of commercially zoned property of the speedway and creates a landlocked situation. He noted that the effort to regulate protection of the site is far inferior to a cooperative effort. He added to regulate protection will create issues and the ultimate resolution will take time and money and put them in limbo. He said he has participated in meetings with staff and other members of agencies and has proposed a means of ensuring a desirable corridor along Willowcreek, involving a sale or gift of certain properties and the restoration of portions of the speedway proper. He said they would be submitting a resolution of the problem that will satisfy all interested parties. He stated they need more time and would appreciate the elected officials’ encouragement to appropriate parties to participate in a cooperative effort. He requested that the designations proposed by staff not be presented as an ultimatum, as they are ready, willing and able to participate in compromise discussions leading to a satisfactory conclusion.

Misha Seymour, 1313 Lincoln, #306, Eugene, stated that the wetlands need to be restored. He said that Earth needs to be protected and every day should be Earth Day. He said Hyundai should go home as they have not been a good neighbor.

Bern Johnson, 1290 E. 25th, Eugene, said he will be submitting written testimony. He said he was in favor of the three ordinances. He asked the elected officials to apply the law to Hyundai as to any other person or company in the community. He said Hyundai came to the West Eugene Wetlands Plan in 1995 and applied to build three factories. He said they applied to the agencies for a permit to build the phase three factory. He said those agencies turned them down. He added that in 1995, as they were building the first factory, they had already been refused permission to build in the wetlands. He quoted from the Division of State Lands in its official findings of fact. He said the Corps of Engineers (in their official permit evaluation decision document) said: "The Corps evaluated the hydrological and habitat characteristics of the site and determined for the purposes of this permit that the areas within the site meet the plan criteria for protection and for development." He noted the Corps again turned down the permit to build in the phase three areas and recommended protecting the area. He said in 1996 the Corps wrote to the City of Eugene and urged the city to protect the site. He suggested the elected officials move forward to protect and restore the site.

Bob Cassidy, 1401 E. 27th, Eugene, reported that the wetlands are being filled in to use the land. He said this should be considered when someone suggests jobs.

Baynard McConnaughey, 1653 Fairmount Blvd, Eugene, stated he is a Professor of Biology Emeritus from the University of Oregon. He noted that the proposed site for phase three of the Hyundai plant is adjacent to and upwind from the Nature Conservancy Preserve. He said in order to get by without an Environmental Impact Statement, Hyundai lied to the Army Corps of Engineers about the necessity of Phase three, citing they really didn’t need it. He added Hyundai had some regulation changed and relaxed in their favor, after promising to abide by all laws and regulations. He commented that the wildlife corridor that is proposed for the back of the factory is inadequate. He reported the discharge of highly toxic chemicals is a threat to the region and poses a threat because they are distributed unevenly, ending up in the food chain.

Evelyn McConnaughey, 1653 Fairmount Blvd., Eugene, questioned why the elected officials would now consider whether or not Hyundai should be allowed to destroy more wetlands when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Division of State Lands had already said no. She noted the West Eugene Wetlands Plan balances development and protection calls for protecting the HG site. She said the site contains quality wetlands that should be protected. She quoted the Eugene City Council’s memo describing the site. She noted that most of the Willamette Prairie grassland habitat had been destroyed. She suggested to the elected officials to just say "no."

Eric Hall, 304 Waite St, Eugene, stated that this is the biggest decision that Eugene has yet made, as it affects the future of the city and county. He said he is concerned about racial bigotry, the people that would wantonly treat citizens unfairly and unequally. He said he has watched the people of Hyundai struggle with the hostility of a loving community. He said that Hyundai tries to do the right things for its employees. He added the 800 new jobs created have indirectly allowed new libraries, schools and wetland banks to be created. He asked why Hyundai is being held to standards that no other companies have been. He commented on the assessment work that the City of Eugene had done in interpreting the existing rules, policies and procedures regarding wetlands. He added that the City of Eugene has some of the finest technical staff and they have worked diligently on this process. He noted that the role of the City of Eugene’s staff is to interpret and implement the laws, not to solve the problems created by them. He said the elected officials are supposed to weigh the matters and find solutions to the problems. He urged the elected officials to direct staff to take a creative look at problem solving.

Nick Urhausen, 2858 Warren St., Eugene, he wanted the City to reach a reasonable compromise for mutual benefit, to work with Hyundai so the community can come together with environmental and economic interests.

Emily Fox, 455 E. 31st, Eugene, urged the elected officials to keep the Hyundai and speedway site protected. She stated the Eugene Planning Department in 1995 said the Hyundai site has seasonal wetlands that provide critical habitat for amphibian species and species adaptable to seasonably wet areas. She sang a song about frogs.

Lisa Marie Di Vincent, 2955 McKenrich, Eugene, said that Hyundai told the building officials that building phase three was not essential to phase one or two. She said from the start, Hyundai understood the conditions under which they were allowed to build in Eugene. She added instead of respecting the original contract, Hyundai thinks they deserve special treatment. She encouraged the elected officials to designate the HG speedway and other sites as recommended by the planning commissions.

Michael O’Conner, 1830 Willowcreek Circle, stated he works for Hyundai and is proud of them. He said Hyundai trained him and they treat their employees right. He said that jobs are important and the compromises that have been put forth should be looked at.

Michael Garvin, 5550 Franklin, Eugene, stated that Hyundai has no real investment in Eugene and they don’t have a good record overseas. He said he wouldn’t be upset if they left the area.

Jennifer Gleason, 1031 W. 10th, Eugene, stated that she wants to see the elected officials apply the criteria to protect the wetlands.

Pam Brooks, 3920 Kinsrow, Eugene, said that Hyundai is a company that goes into a community and destroys the environment. She said Eugene wants to protect what is left of the environment of the area. She said the Willamette River is now one of the most polluted in the country. She said there shouldn’t be toxic waste going into the river. She asked the elected officials to listen to the people and pay attention.

Kathy Ging, 2878 Harris St., Eugene, said the pollution of the Willamette River is an albatross. She added that the Willamette River is now the tenth worst river in the country because of toxic wastes. She said by expanding another phase, the Willamette River will become worse because of Hyundai.

MOTION: to hold the written record open until April 26, 2000 at 5:00 p.m. to submit additional materials that would constitute the record for the Board of Commissioners.

Morrison MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.

Dwyer stated that it was appropriate to keep the record open as there were requests to keep it open until April 26, 2000 at 5:00 p.m.

VOTE: 5-0.

MOTION: to keep the record open for additional written requests to Wednesday, April 26, 2000 at 5:00 p.m. for the Eugene City Council.

Lee MOVED, Taylor SECONDED.

VOTE: 9 –0.

Gary Rayor, Councilor, City of Eugene, asked with regard to the Davidson Industries lot (if the site specific wetland amendments are passed,) if the Corps of Engineers could move some of the wetlands that are non-contiguous for development and still be in accordance with the wetlands plan.

Bjorklund responded, no. He noted if a site is designated for development that is the time the property owner can fill and rearrange the wetlands. He added if a wetland is designated for protection or restoration, it has to stay as it is.

Anna Morrison, Lane County Board of Commissioners, stated that Davidson is losing 80% of the value of the land, but there is no compensation for them.

Bjorklund responded that the West Eugene Wetlands program includes an acquisition component, but there is no guarantee that every wetland would be acquired in that way.

Gary Pape, Councilor, City of Eugene, asked if the criteria for the wetlands had changed within the last four or five years.

Bjorklund responded that there are criteria that are used by the state and federal agencies to determine what a wetland is. He said that decision is outside the purview of local government and the elected officials do not have the authority to make that decision. He said the criteria for the West Eugene Wetlands Plan are criteria to determine if there is a wetland, what should be done with it; to be protected, developed or restored. He added the local criteria are the ones that were recently changed by adopting new criteria. He noted there have been no major changes in the way that wetlands are identified. He said the Corp of Engineers criteria is not aimed at determining relative value, it is only aimed at whether it is a wetland or not.

David Kelly, Councilor, City of Eugene, said the hearing is not about Hyundai, it is about the intergovernmental West Eugene Wetlands Plan and principles of balance and compromise. He noted that both bodies had approved the criteria and all of the property owners will be evaluated under the criteria, not one set for one property owner and a different set for another. He said that the phase two site of Hyundai is marked for development and he supports that. He noted the current dates are correct for scheduling for action. He asked for a staff analysis of the affect of the eight-acre change and to overlay that on the City’s map so it could be understood what would be applied to that area. Regarding the speedway site, he asked for staff comment on driveway access in the landlocked site within the context of the criteria. He was interested in acting on the speedway ordinance at the appropriate time.

Nancy Nathanson, Councilor, City of Eugene, said that she has constituents who care about the natural environment, the south hills and the wetlands. She also noted that constituents talk to her about the need for balance and finding solutions to make it work for the community. She asked how the West Eugene Wetland Plan is doing overall and, based on what has been done, its prognosis for the future. She asked if mitigation credits worked and if the property owners met their obligations to either create on- or off-site wetlands. She asked if access to the speedway site was developable and if there was a lack of information to evaluate the site. She noted that balance is achieved by allowing development with mitigation of marginally useful wetlands. She asked if Hyundai did restoration. She asked to what degree Hyundai had or had not changed the average wage in Eugene and how the addition of manufacturing jobs in relation to service sector jobs makes a difference in wages only, or wages plus benefits. She said the officials need to understand what a revised boundary means.

Bobby Green, Lane County Board of Commissioners, declared the public hearing was not about Hyundai. He noted the comments about rule breaking and the violations. He asked what violations had occurred since operation of the facility had commenced. He asked about any pollution of the rivers attributed to Hyundai. He mentioned a survey by United Way several years ago which reported that quality of life meant financial security and a good paying job. He said that the officials need focus on keeping the process consistent. He added that each property owner needs to know the property’s boundaries and what can be done. He declared he would keep an open mind about the whole process.

Torrey said his goal was to elevate the discussion in the community so that all of the community could understand the issues. He read the preface of the 1992 Wetlands Plan as it was adopted. He said it is not simply a plan to protect wetlands or free them up for development--it balances environmental concerns with development. He stated there is a way to keep the plan working and it is in Eugene’s best interest to do that.

Sorenson asked if there has been cooperation between Hyundai and the Lane Transit District resulting in fewer vehicles on site. He asked if there would be a supplemental environmental impact statement in light of the larger environmental impacts of an expansion. He asked if there would be a written analysis by staff of the questions tonight.

Jan Childs, City of Eugene, said the response that is needed tonight is that all of the material that was received this evening (as well as the comments that were provided orally), and anything received until the close of the record will be reviewed and evaluated.

Torrey reported that action by the City of Eugene for this item would take place on Monday, June 12, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

There being no further business, Mayor Torrey adjourned the meeting of the Eugene City Council at 7:27 p.m.

Sorenson closed the public hearing for Ordinance PA 1107, 1108 and 1109.

MOTION: to set a Third Reading and Deliberation on Ordinances PA 1107, l108 and 1109 for Wednesday, June 28, 2000 at Harris Hall.

Morrison MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0 (Weeldreyer left early).

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners at 7:27 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary

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