State ex rel Willamette Cmty. Hlth. Sols. v. Lane Cty.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 10-28-2015
  • Case #: A148854
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, J. for the Court; Nakamoto, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 215.429(4), either a governing body or a designee may permit or deny a land use permit application. An applicant may not file a mandamus action to compel the government body to act if either the governing body or a designee has responded to the application, even if the response was issued after the 150-day limit.

Willamette Community Health Solutions (WCHS) filed land use permit applications to build a hospice facility in Eugene. The Lane County Board of Commissioners (County) let the 150-day time period pass without making a decision. After the deadline passed, the hearings official sent a written notice denying the applications. Eleven days later, WCHS brought a mandamus action to compel the Board to approve of the permit. Intervenor Page moved to intervene in the action and raised several affirmative defenses. WCHS moved for summary judgment on the defenses. Intervenor moved for summary judgment, arguing that under ORS 215.429(4) the denial notice precluded WCHS’s filing for mandamus and counted as the County’s decision regarding the applications, and created a 14-day grace period . The trial court held that the denial letter was not a preliminary decision of a governing body, and therefore WCHS was not precluded from filing for mandamus. Intervenor and County appealed. The Court held that the legislative intent of ORS 215.429(4) was not to allow applicants to file mandamus actions against a denial, and that only the Board would be able to give an answer regarding the grant or denial of an application. Therefore, the Court held, because the hearings official responded to the application on behalf of the Board by denying it, WCHS was not entitled to file a mandamus action compelling the Board to respond. Judgment vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss; cross-appeal dismissed as moot.

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