Oregon Coast Alliance v. City of Brookings

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 10-06-2015
  • Case #: 2015-037
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

Pursuant to ORS 197.829(1)(d), a local government’s interpretation of one of its comprehensive plan provisions, e.g., a policy, cannot be contrary to the language of the land use goal that the comprehensive plan provision implements.

Following LUBA’s remand in Oregon Coast Alliance v. City of Brookings, __ Or LUBA __ (LUBA No. 2014-087, January 6, 2015), the city approved an application for annexation of two parcels totaling 13.33 acres in size, rezoning of the parcels from light commercial and industrial to two-family residential (R-2), and comprehensive plan and shorelands boundary amendments. On remand, LUBA instructed the city to evaluate the potential adverse impacts on the estuary caused by residential development allowed under the new plan and zoning designations, pursuant to Statewide Planning Goal 16, Implementation Requirement 1. The city conducted a hearing and adopted additional findings addressing that remand issue and Oregon Coast Alliance appealed again.

Oregon Coast Alliance argued that the city misconstrued Goal 16 and adopted inadequate findings not supported by substantial evidence in concluding that residential use of the property allowed under the plan and zoning amendments would not impact the adjacent estuary. LUBA agreed that the city erred to the extent it relied upon a comparison between the impacts resulting from hypothetical rural commercial or industrial uses allowed under the former county commercial/industrial zone, and the impacts of urban residential development uses allowed under the R-2 zone, to support its conclusion that residential development of the property under the R-2 zone would not result in potential adverse impacts. LUBA also agreed that the city’s findings regarding potential adverse impacts from stormwater, pesticide, and herbicide runoff were inadequate because the findings failed to describe the expected extent of impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality and living resources, and failed to identify methods that are sufficient to “avoid or minimize adverse impacts.” LUBA remanded again, ordering the city to conduct an impacts assessment free of analytical errors, and adopt more adequate findings and conditions, supported by substantial evidence. The decision was REMANDED.