GPA1 LLC v. City of Corvallis

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 11-28-2016
  • Case #: 2016-078
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Ryan
  • Full Text Opinion

When a conceptual location for a road has been approved in in multiple city plans, such as the Corvallis Transportation Plan, the North Corvallis Area Plan, and the Conceptual Development Plan, in order to comply with the acknowledged plan and land use regulations pursuant to ORS 197.175(2)(d), the city has a heightened obligation under Commonwealth Properties v. Washington County, 35 Or App 387 (1978) to either: (1) approve the petitioner’s proposed alignment that is consistent with the planned and approved location, or (2) make it very clear to the petitioner which alternative alignment the city will accept.

     The petitioner appealed a city council decision denying its application for detailed development plan (DDP) approval to extend an arterial road through its property. LUBA previously found the city’s finding were inadequate to inform the petitioner of what was required to obtain approval, and that the city was obligated to give petitioner a “better idea” of how the city council would approach approving the road, given that the conceptual location of the road was approved in the 1996 Corvallis Transportation Plan, the 2002 North Corvallis Area Plan, and the 2000 Conceptual Development Plan. On remand the city council again denied the application and suggested the petitioner take three actions.

     Petitioner asserted three assignments of error, which LUBA characterized as “essentially variations of arguments that the city improperly construed the applicable law” in denying the DDP application. LUBA rejected the city’s argument that petitioner was precluded from raising the issues raised in its assignments because the issues were resolved in the earlier case, finding that in the present appeal the petitioner was challenging the city’s decision adopted on remand.

     LUBA noted that the city’s discretion to deny was narrowed due to the prior approval of the arterial road in the comprehensive plan adoption. LUBA held that “the city has a heightened obligation under Commonwealth Properties v. Washington County, 35 Or App 387, 400 (1978) to either (1) approve petitioner’s proposed alignment that is consistent with the planned and approved location, or (2) make it very clear to petitioner which alternative alignment the city will accept.” LUBA agreed with the petitioner that the city improperly construed the applicable law by not giving petitioner adequate guidance of what natural features must be present in the property as Commonwealth Properties outlined. LUBA again remanded the decision, but gave the city very limited discretion. REMANDED