LANE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

PUBLIC HEARING

October 12, 2004

7:00 p.m.

Florence Events Center, 715 Quince Street, Florence

APPROVED 6/20/05

 

Ordinance No. PA 1214/In the Matter  of  Amending  the  Rural  Comprehensive  Plan and  the  Florence  Comprehensive  Plan  to  Enlarge  the  Urban  Growth  Boundary;  Redesignate  Affected  Lands  from  Rural  Comp  Plan  Designations of Rural, Non- Resource,  and  Forest  to  Florence Comp Plan Designations  of  Medium Density Residential and Private  Open  Space; Rezone Affected Lands From Lane  Code (LC)  Chapter 16  Districts  of  ‘RR’  Rural  Residential  and  ‘F-2’  Impacted  Forest  Lands  to  LC Chapter 10  Districts  of  ‘RR/U’  Rural Residential / Interim Urbanizing  and  ‘PR/BD/U/SR’  Public Reserve / Beaches and Dunes / Interim Urbanizing / Site Review; and  Adopting  Savings  and  Severability  Clauses (Florence Periodic Review Work Task No.1)

 

Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Don Hampton, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor,  Assistant County Counsel Stephen Vorhes and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

Green recalled they last held a hearing and discussion on September 15.  He said it was shared by a person that there was a problem with the process, that it didn’t include as many people in the Florence area as it should have.  He added it was shared with the Board that some people are intimidated to talk to the Board of Commissioners.  He took exception to that.  He thought what the person meant was anytime you have to talk in front of a public body you might feel nervous.  He took exception to the fact that the Board was intimidating.  He indicated a majority of the Board decided to come out to Florence to have a night meeting.

 

Green indicated there are two issues.  He noted one is the golf course, Area 2, and the other is Munsel Lake residential area, Area 1.  He said they would take testimony on both areas.  He stated the Board would not be making a decision tonight.  He said the hearing is so more people could get on the record to make it complete.

 

Green explained that this decision is subject to the plan amendment and rezoning criteria cited in the agenda cover memo and all attachments.  Evidence and testimony must be directed toward the approval criteria and failure to raise an issue to enable a response may preclude an appeal to LUBA.  He said this was an opportunity for those who are present to enter information into the record and only persons who qualify as a party may appeal Board decisions to LUBA.  He asked for any disclosures or ex parte contacts by the Board.

 

There were none.

 

Stephanie Schulz, Land Management, explained there are two areas under consideration with 105 acres.  She noted that Area 1 is approximately 26 acres, 18 lots, residential land, and south and west of Munsel Lake Road.  She indicated that Area 2 is 79.04 acres, three tax lots and is the Ocean Dunes Golf Links property.  She said since the last hearing, they have received two written submittals in support of the project and three or four phone calls.  She had given information to some people who inquired.  She suggested October 27, 2004 as the date for deliberation.

 

Emily Jerome, City Attorney, Florence, reported that the City of Florence is in periodic review with only a few tasks remaining on the work program.  She said that work task relates to Goal 14 that is the urbanization goal and the specific task to the City from DLCD was that it determined and set the proper location for its urban growth boundary.  She said DLCD provided a list of subtasks for the City to look at in doing the job.  She noted the list is included as Exhibit D on page 3 of the City’s application that is in the record.  She stated the City addressed the subtasks under task number one and a study that was originally completed in 1997 was updated in 2003, Exhibit D to the City’s application.  She noted that one of DLCD’s requirements that are listed in subtask g required the City to consider its UGB in light of the seven factors of Goal 14.  She said the factors are set out in the goal itself.  She noted on the list are factors that require the local government to consider the need to ensure livability and the need for orderly and economic provision for public facilities and services.  She indicated it was the last two factors that lead the City’s study to determine that the UGB should be expanded to include the two areas they are discussing tonight.

 

Jerome indicated the City has adopted the amendments that are before the Board and submitted those to DLCD for completion of the work task and DLCD responded that the task is not complete until Lane County takes action.  She said this was specified in the letter from DLCD that they provided at the last public hearing.  She said the City withdrew its request for DLCD’s approval until this action is completed.  She explained that state law generally prohibits the City from providing urban services outside of an urban growth boundary.  She said the City’s study revealed serious concerns about state law.  She said one was the City’s need to establish a looped water system for its citizens within its urban growth boundary.  She said it couldn’t provide a looped system without running lines through the areas unless it runs through private properties.  She noted the proposal is that it would follow Munsel Lake Road.  She said the second issue is a concern about the number of septic systems that are outside the UGB in Area 1 and the effect that a failure of one of those systems could have on the area’s water sources.  She said there is a need for a municipal collection and treatment of sewage in those areas.  She indicated the third issue that has arisen is a concern about Munsel Lake Road.  She explained the road serves as a major access for two large subdivisions and for a golf course and it has a patchwork of jurisdictional responsibility with regard to maintenance and public safety.  She commented that it made sense for that road to be under a single jurisdiction.  She noted that any one of these three reasons would justify a UGB amendment and taken together the City study concluded that a UGB amendment for both of these areas is warranted.

 

Linda Sarnoff, Community Services Director,  explained that Area 1 is 26 acres and designated as rural residential and upon conclusion of the Florence Urban Growth Boundary, it would be designated as medium density residential.  She said it would allow a density of about seven dwelling units per acre.  She added the other area their study concluded should be included in the UGB was approximately 80 acres and is designated as rural residential and a portion is impacted forestland.  She said if added to the urban growth boundary, it is proposed to be designated as private open space and currently includes the Ocean Dunes Golf Course.  She said the main reason for adding them to the UGB has to do with the outer provision of public facilities and services.  She said the City has just completed expansion of their water treatment plant and with the expansion; they now have the capacity to service the area and all of the City and a majority of the portion of the UGB.  She added they have the ability to provide water to an additional 1,600 dwelling units based on their current usage patterns.  She thought this was one of the reasons that DLCD had asked them to reconsider their proposal prior to the UGB amendment.  She said the concern was that UGBs should be provided with full services and it wasn’t until the City completed its expansion at the water treatment plant that they can now comply with that requirement.  She said they can comply with the requirement for their existing citizens; they can also meet the need for the entire UGB.  She said they are ready to provide for water services.  She said in order to provide water services as expeditiously as possible, they  would like a looped system that provides for a redundant system for fire flow and adequacy.  She commented that the inclusion of these two areas provides for that type of system.

 

With regard to Area 1, Ms. Sarnoff said that area has the potential for having some septic sanitary problems.  She said a concern is there are a number of existing septic systems that are older systems on smaller lots and have the potential to need additional service and/or experience failures.  She said they could now provide sewer treatment for a population between 15,000 and 16,000.  She indicated half of the capacity of their current sewer treatment plant is being used.  She said by including this area in the UGB, they have not only the potential to provide for a looped water system, but they could also address any concerns the area might have if those existing septic systems were to fail.  She added in the expansion of their water system, they rely on a unique aquifer.  She said they have wells that are different than the majority of communities in Oregon.  She said the wells have relied upon a wellhead protection program in order to assure that those wells have a high quality of water and do not contaminate the wells.  She noted that Areas 1 and 2 are included within the wellhead protection program that identifies that the City should look at land uses above ground with importance so they don’t impact the aquifer below ground.  She said they think the best way of doing that is including them within the City, but within the UGB where they have the ability to provide services.  She commented that they concur with the County staff recommendation and the recommendations of the Lane County Planning Commission, the Florence City Council and the Florence Planning Commission to include the areas within their UGB.  She said this is compliant with the statewide goals to encourage the appropriate use of land and resources to facilitate the adequate and efficient provision of public facilities of water, sewer and transportation and to preserve the quality of the County’s environment.  She urged the Board to approve their request and help them complete their periodic review.

 

Morrison asked if the DLCD had any concerns about the plan that had been submitted.

 

Sarnoff responded that DLCD had reviewed it and this was the remaining work task from DLCD.

 

Jerome indicated that DLCD had not reviewed the City’s action on this matter.  She said they want the City and County action as a whole.  She said they withdrew their request for DLCD’s review at this point.

 

Sorenson asked what the legal requirements were that a city or county has to meet to approve an expansion of an urban growth boundary.

 

Jerome said the best place to look is in the Goal 14 findings provided to the ordinance.  She said that Goal 14 contains the seven factors that are the primary issues to review.  She added there is also a state statute that is referenced under the Goal 14 findings to the ordinance that discusses the hierarchy of land that could be included.  She said their findings address that.

 

P.T. Smith, Florence, stated he was in favor of the UGB.  He commented that Bill Robinson was a man of integrity.  He said when Robinson opened his golf course, he made an offer that was surprising.  He noted in the third week of September 1991, he turned over the entire golf course to the Friends of Florence.   He added the proceeds of that came to their aid in getting a new bus and has contributed each year.  He said they judge Mr. Robinson’s contribution to the Friends of Florence to be in excess of $70,000.

 

Rodger Bennett, City Manager, City of Florence, testified in favor of this as a public administrator and as a representative of the Florence Council because the proposed expansion to the UGB makes common sense in terms of infill development.  He said it adds without subtracting resources.  He said the areas included are areas that could reasonably demand public services.  With regard to Area 2, he said they could also expect inside and outside of the UGB that development will continue to expand.  He said with the development, they see the early annexation of Area 2 and the necessary public steps to take that will be developed around a golf course.  He added in addition to providing law enforcement services, sewer services and looping the water system, they see one other essential service that is of great concern to them; the ability to predict and have sway over development of that area.  He indicated with the development occurring in Florence at the pace it is, they see the kinds of development for all community services under city code as being more comprehensive than those developed into other codes.  He said there is a possibility that there might be a third development in this scenario with the position of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians having properties immediately to the south.  He said there is some speculation in the community that the tribes might acquire the golf course site.  He said that control over the development might pass into hands other than the local community.

 

Andy Johnson, Florence, stated he is the owner of Coldwell Banker Real Estate and represents staff in his office.  He said through the years they have represented Bill Robinson on his projects.  He said the communities are well planned and maintained and they build equity for their property owners, and endorses the UGB expansion to include the 80 acres.  He said the property would provide much needed future housing for their dwindling real estate market inventory and it will have a positive impact on their community.

 

Della Robinson, Florence, said over 200 Florence residents will be positively affected by the inclusion of Area 2 into the UGB.  She said all the residents will benefit with better police protection, property value protection, better fire protection through looping water, the opportunity to purchase the golf course and keep it affordable for perpetuity and help guarantee that the City will have control in future development.  She added that this would gain the revenue from any such development of Area 2, gain of a low impact, high quality future development that guarantees 57 of the 80 acres in Area 2 UGB, and be private open space maintained without cost to Florence forever.  She said it guarantees any such development will be on City water and sewer, protecting their existing well fields.  She said the Florence residents realize that the two well permits offered to Florence for free by Ocean Dunes would more than mitigate any impact the future 42 residents might have on the City water supply.  She said the Florence UGB has been through the Florence Planning Commission, Florence City Council and the Lane County Planning Commission and each of the government entities had approved the inclusion of Area 2 into the Florence UGB.  She wanted the Board to vote on this tonight.

 

Buddy Hale, Florence, said he and his wife are members of Ocean Dunes Golf Links. He said it appears that Mr. Robinson wanted to change his status as the owner of the golf club by selling it to the people of the community.  He said this would provide an opportunity for the members and others of the community to control their own destiny.  He said it would provide to the community a golf course that is beneficial and affordable.  He and other residents would prefer to have control of Ocean Dunes Golf Links, so it remains with the people of the community as opposed to being under the control of the casino operators.  He thought Robinson’s plan would create a good opportunity for the City of Florence and the local community.  He said the City of Florence agreed with Mr. Robinson in that they have approved his proposed development. He added by going forward with this development, he could create a situation that would be good for the community by providing employment and creating more residential lots that are in short supply.  He believed the development as presented by Mr. Robinson would be more desirable and beneficial to the community as opposed to a sale to the casino operators.  He said that action needs to be taken now, as there is no need to delay approval of a plan that has been approved by the appropriate agencies.  He commented this was the right thing to do at the right time for positive action.

 

Tim Goffar, Florence, stated he is a member of Ocean Dunes Golf Links.  He was in favor of expansion of the UGB Area 2 as approved by the Florence City Council.  He believed that growth was important to any small town.  He thought the Board should approve the proposed Area 2 UGB expansion.

 

Jim Gates, Florence, stated he is a homeowner in the Ocean Dunes Estates.  He spoke on behalf of himself and other owners.  He said they were concerned about the future of their golf course and surrounding properties.  He commented that those who want no growth want everything to remain as they see it today.  He said it would be an injustice to the people of the community if the request were denied.

 

Gerald Burkey, Florence, urged the Board to approve the amendment to bring Area 2 and 20 acres of the undeveloped land to the south of the golf course to bring it into the Florence UGB.  He noted the owner of the land has a plan to develop the 27 acres into upscale homes.  He said the estimated property taxes of the plan would generate $750,000 each year, and a substantial amount of the taxes would increase revenue for Lane County.  He added the homes would be on the City sewer system.  He noted upon approval of this amendment, police protection would improve.  He indicated currently the County portion is out of the jurisdiction of the City Police with protection coming from one state officer stationed in Eugene.  He commented taking this land into the UGB would generate enough revenue to increase the police force in Florence.  He urged the Board to honor the hard work put in by the Florence Planning Commission, the Florence City Council and the Lane County Planning Commission resulting in their approval of the amendment.  He asked the Board to vote in the affirmative and bring the process to a conclusion.

 

Rob Ward, Dunes City, wanted to bring Area 2 within the UGB of the City of Florence.  He commented the Board could use the process of bringing this into UGB so the City could control the planning and development, or they could use the process to stretch it out for ten years. He encouraged the Board to do what the City of Florence Planning Commission, City of Florence, Lane County Planning Commission and Lane County staff had already done, to come to the conclusion that Area 2 needs to come into the UGB.

 

Mary Koury, Florence, thought the Board should take into consideration Area 2.  She commented that Mr. Robinson had gone over and above donating land for the use and getting approval by the City of Florence and Lane County.  She thought the Board should consider their wishes and to vote tonight.

 

Wilbur Tornyik, stated he was on the Florence City Council for 16 years and he was in favor of both of the items before the Board.  He had concerns about people in Area 1.  He didn’t think some people could afford to hook up to the City.  He wanted to see something in writing about the City not forcing people to be hooked up to the sewers.  He thought there needed to be another process of addressing this.  He commented that the ordinance addresses everything that needed to be addressed.   He urged the Board to support what the staff and City Council has put forth.

 

Gary Neal, Willow Dunes, was in favor of the adoption of the UGB for Area 2.  His concern is the 27 acres being bought by the casino for a possible RV park.  He commented that the street he lives on would be an access up to the new RV park or homes that would be built.  He didn’t want to have RVs going by his house all hours of the night.  He urged the Board to accept the area into the UGB and let Mr. Robinson move forward with his plans.

 

MarianTrueblood, Ocean Dunes Estates, agreed with everything that had been stated.

 

Zachary Morrison, Florence, supported the UGB.  He said he represented the unmarried college educated professional male under 30 with no children.  He said he represents the professional future of Florence.  He commented that with Florence’s distinction as the best place to retire in America, coupled with the shortage of buildable lots within the current city limits, the UGB should make expansion an easy decision.  He said that growth will happen and without the expansion and the increased availability of land that has access to city services, homeownership would be an impossibility for many people.  He commented that the expansion is critical to the healthy growth of the community.

 

Roxie Cuellar, Home Builders of Lane County, Springfield, said she was asked to come down to speak by some residents of Florence to give the Board a packet of letters in support of the UGB expansion. and she submitted a letter of her own supporting the UGB expansion.  She noted she testified in front of the Planning Commission and the City Council when they did their residential land study.  She said she has concerns about the result of the land study.  She said in looking at the seven criteria in Goal 14, two regarding agricultural are not applicable to either Area 1 or Area 2, but in looking at the other four criteria, all apply in one way or another.  She asked the Board to separately consider Area 1 and Area 2.  She thought both could be supported but she thought it was easier to justify Area 2 than Area 1.  She added if there were an appeal or LCDC were to have concerns, she didn’t want to have Area 2 brought down.  She hoped the Board didn’t vote tonight because if they were to separate the two to make it easier, they would need two separate ordinances.

 

Bill Robinson, Dunes City, stated he is the owner of the golf course.  He said there is approximately 68 acres of the golf course in the City, and another 80 acres in the County.  He  added that if this piece of land is brought into the UGB, that land stays golf course forever because of the private open space zone that has been designated or will be designated if it is brought in.  He indicated the area he wanted to develop in the future is accessed through the Willow Dunes subdivision.  He stated he has no intention of negotiating a sale with anyone at this point, but wants to develop the land himself.  He said the police protection by State Police on County land is non-existent.  He indicated the response time to any emergency on any land west of the tunnel is approximately one-and-one-half hours.  He said the State Police comes from Eugene.  He commented if they were in the City, the response time for police would be five minutes.  He said it makes a difference.

 

Ron Scheriber, said he had agreed with all points that were previously addressed.

 

Tom Grove, Florence, said he manages and is part owner of a business at 1355 Highway 101, Oregon Pacific Banking Company.  He declared they make a good living financing residential property.   He said Area 2 had been a quality development from the start and they have never had a qualifying problem with any property he had constructed.  He said he couldn’t make the same statement for Area 1.  He said they have had non-qualified properties that could not get conventional financing.  He said that area needs particular attention.  He indicated the cost of financing in Area 1 is more expensive as there are more tests and qualifications that need to take place.  He thought by unifying the entire area under City guidance makes sense.  He asked the Board to approve this so they could build more houses, which they are in need of.

 

Del Phelps, Florence, said he is in real estate and he commented that it is hard to find affordable property.  He was concerned about young people moving into Florence.  He indicated their inventory is low and the Board needs to approve the UGB in both areas, Area 2, for allowing more inventory in the future and for Area 1, because of the septic tanks.

 

Roger McCorkle, Florence, said this has been an ongoing process.  He added this is the third plan and the second update to the original and he believed this was the first request for an urban growth expansion since the original plan was done in the late seventies.  He encouraged the Board to support both.  He thought there would be more credibility to Area 1 because of the need for improvement in the area.  He thought it was important from the redundancy of infrastructure to include Area 2 in the process.  He commented that if they do this, then any other things mentioned about residential development would have to go through the City with an annexation proposal and the Boundary Commission for those to occur.  He said the Board was being asked to allow it to be included within the UGB.  He encouraged the Board to go forward with this.

 

Mike Cocciolo, Dunes City, stated he owns Prudential Pacific Properties.  He spoke on behalf of his staff members.  He was in support of this because there is a critical shortage of buildable land.

 

Dale Saari, Florence, indicated he has been working in the real estate business since 1980.  He said they have had a massive migration of young people in the past 25 years with the decline of the timber and fishing industries.  He said they don’t have a lot of family wage jobs left in the area.  He indicated that the last family wage jobs are building jobs.  He thought at some point they would lose the contractor trade and the economic impact to the school system.  He said the scarcity of land creates a situation where their children and grandchildren could not compete with people that are retiring from Southern California.  He asked to help create inventory.

 

Van Heeter, Florence, indicated he has been a resident of Florence for 36 years and has had an interest in the planning process.  He said with the scarcity of the properties in the area, the people in real estate could lose their jobs.  He said they are in need of land added to the UGB for housing.  He added by expanding the UGB they would create more opportunity for affordable housing that is an item they have to address in the statewide goals.  He indicated affordable housing in Florence is non-existent.  He added that older homes that used to sell for$100,000 two years ago are selling from $160,000 on up.  He commented that both areas were important and urged the Board to act on this matter.

 

Phil Brubaker, City of Florence, reported that Florence wants to expand its UGB.  He said they are proposing something a little different than a sprawl UGB expansion.  He said they are proposing an infill UGB expansion to complete a logical boundary for the orderly and managed growth of the City in the months and years ahead.  He said that in response to the requirements of their periodic review, they need to have a completion of their utility system serving both Area 1 and Area 2.  He said they want to provide police services to Area 1 in a timely manner in the absence of other viable alternatives.  He added that they want to protect the City’s water well field that is to the west. He indicated they want all new development to be on their sewer system.  He said the development proposed is a logical continuation of what is already there.  He urged the Board to approve the request.

 

Schulz submitted two items in writing into the record.

 

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

 

MOTION:  to approve a Third Reading and Setting a Fourth Reading and Deliberation  for October 27, 2004 on Ordinance PA 1214.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

Dwyer encouraged them to separate the areas so they could have two ordinances.

 

Vorhes said they could talk about that during deliberations. He said they could remove one area from this ordinance and take action on it, and move a reading of another ordinance that has the second area in it.  He thought it would necessitate some revisions to the findings.  He said they could investigate that and discuss it on October 27.  He indicated the reason they had a second reading in front of the Board is that there were some changes since the last reading to clarify the /U designation on Area 1 that wasn’t in the first ordinance and to add an Exhibit that shows on the Florence Comp Plan map the designation that this ordinance would apply to both of those areas.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary