Oregon Coast Alliance v. Curry County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 05-15-2015
  • Case #: No. 2015-006
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OAR 660-033-0130(2)(a), “design capacity” cannot be properly determined based on the applicant’s representations under normal operation regarding the number of likely users of a structure (e.g., a proposed golf course).

Oregon Coast Alliance (Alliance) appealed Curry County board of commissioners’ approval of a conditional use permit application for an 18-hole golf course on property zoned for exclusive farm use (EFU). Elk River Development, LLC (Elk River), intervenor-respondent, proposed construction on approximately 198 acres of the 354-acre EFU-zoned property, including a clubhouse, maintenance storage facility, a small check-in facility, and a small restroom and vendor's station on the course. Alliance assigned as error five aspects of the application approval. The first assignment of error contained three sub-assignments and the fourth assignment was dismissed pursuant to it not being raised in prior appeals.

In its three sub-assignments of error, Alliance argued that the county erred in that it incorrectly applied or failed to apply comprehensive plan and code provisions concerning coastal shorelands (Statewide Planning Goal 17) and development within geologic hazard areas. Alliance challenged, in the second and third sub-assignments of error, the county’s conclusions under Curry County Zoning Ordinance (CCZO) 3.252 and Elk River's geologic hazard assessment reviewed against it. LUBA held that the language of CCZO 3.252(1)(b), in context, can be construed in multiple ways. Finding the commissioners’ interpretation of CCZO 3.252(1)(b) plausible, LUBA deferred to the commissioners’ interpretations pursuant to ORS 197.829(1)(a)-(c), and denied the first assignment of error. LUBA denied the second assignment of error because the language of OAR 660-033-0130(20)(a) definition of a regulation golf course to “about 120 to 150 acres” was not a strict limitation. The third assignment of error was sustained in part because LUBA agreed with Alliance that the county misconstrued OAR 660-033-0130(2)(a). The fifth assignment of error was denied due to a lack of evidence that Knapp Ranches would convey too much water to Elk River during the transfer of water rights and undermine its ability to irrigate its lands. REMANDED.