Central Oregon Landwatch v. Deschutes County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 08-10-2016
  • Case #: 2016-012
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Holstun
  • Full Text Opinion

When an irrevocably committed exception to Goal 14 is granted, OAR 660-014-0030(3) and (4) require that the exception be based on all four OAR 660-014-0030(3) factors, and that there is a “a statement of reason explaining why the facts found support the conclusion that the land in question is committed to urban uses and urban level development rather than a rural level of development.”

Central Oregon Landwatch (petitioner) appeals a decision by Deschutes County (respondent) granting Anthony Aceti (intervenor) an exception to Statewide Planning Goal 14, and amending a county comprehensive plan and zoning map, which changed the plan map designation of his property from Agricultural Rural Industrial and Exclusive Farm Use Tumalo/Bend Subzone to Rural Industrial Zone .

Landwatch asserted two assignments of error: first, the county improperly determined that the subject property did not qualify as agricultural land, and second, the county erred by approving an irrevocably committed exception to Goal 14 for the land. LUBA determined that the county’s decision was “supported by substantial evidence,” which is all that is required under ORS 197.835(9)(a)(C) for the county to determine the property did not qualify as agricultural land. LUBA found that the study that showed the land consisted of Class VII and VIII soils and was unsuitable for farm use constituted “evidence a reasonable person would believe.” LUBA denied the first assignment of error.

The second assignment of error invoked OAR 660-014-0030(3), which sets out four facts that must be considered in granting an irrevocably committed exception to Goal 14. LUBA determined that the county properly adopted findings addressing the factors, but as petitioner argued, failed to provide “a statement of reason explaining why the facts found support the conclusion that the land in question is committed to urban uses and urban level development rather than a rural level of development,” as required by OAR 660-014-0030(3). LUBA held that if the county approves an irrevocably committed exception to Goal 14, it must supply reasoning to support the conclusion that the rural use “is impracticable, with the result that it is committed to urban uses.” REMANDED.