McLoughlin Neighborhood Association v. City of Oregon City

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 02-09-2016
  • Case #: 2015-098
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

The “significant impacts” test operates only where no land use regulation, comprehensive plan provision, or statewide planning goal applies to the challenged decision but, nevertheless, the decision actually changes present or future land uses; where a petitioner invokes the significant impacts test, that petitioner must identify the non-land use standards that allegedly apply to the decision (and would be the subject of LUBA’s review) and demonstrate that those standards have some relationship to or bearing on land use, otherwise the significant impacts test will not be met. See, e.g., Northwest Trail Alliance v. City of Portland, __ Or LUBA __ (LUBA No. 2015-015, June 3, 2015).

The McLoughlin Neighborhood Association (McLoughlin) appealed a city resolution determining that the subject property, a parcel of city property in the “upper yard” section of the city public works operation facility, is not—and never has been—a park designated by ordinance for the purposes of Chapter X of the City Charter. During proceedings before the city commission that led to adoption of the resolution, McLoughlin argued that the subject property’s inclusion in superceded comprehensive plan maps and park master plan maps and text were sufficient to designate the property as a park by ordinance, as required by Section 43 of Chapter X of the City Charter. The city rejected that argument and, following the city’s adoption of the resolution, McLoughlin appealed to LUBA.

The city moved to dismiss McLoughlin’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the decision was not a land use decision as defined at ORS 197.015(10)(a) because the decision did not apply or concern the application of a comprehensive plan provision nor require the city to exercise its land use planning responsibilities. LUBA generally agreed with the city, noting that the city commission merely determined that the subject property was not “designated as a park” under Section 43 of Chapter X because it had not been designated by ordinance, which did not require exercise of its land use planning responsibilities. Moreover, in response to McLoughlin’s “significant impacts” test argument, LUBA determined that the challenged decision did “nothing to change the use of the property, or cause any impact, significant or otherwise, on present or future land use of the property or surrounding properties.” LUBA held that McLoughlin had not established that the city’s decision was a land use decision subject to its jurisdiction, and granted McLoughlin’s motion to transfer the appeal to circuit court. TRANSFERRED.