Housing Land Advocates v. City of Happy Valley

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 03-24-2017
  • Case #: 2016-031/105
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Holstun
  • Full Text Opinion

MC 3.07.120 allows a city to reduce the minimum zoned capacity of a single lot or parcel only if it demonstrates that the reduction, when compared to the city’s overall minimum zoned residential capacity, is negligible.

Petitioner appeals an amendment to a city comprehensive plan and zoning map. Intervenors applied to have the property at issue rezoned so that they could develop a 31-lot subdivision with single-family dwellings rather than with multi-family dwellings. The planning commission approved intervenors’ application and petitioner appealed directly to LUBA. Respondent withdrew the planning commission’s decision to consider it further, but ultimately approved the application. Thereafter, petitioner filed a notice of intent to appeal that decision and filed a motion to dismiss its original appeal. The motion was denied, but LUBA allowed petitioner the opportunity to amend its previous appeal. In the amended appeal, petitioner sought review of the city council’s decision. Because an earlier appeal was filed, LUBA consolidated the appeals.  

Petitioner argues that respondent’s decision inadequately demonstrated the approved amendment complies with the housing statues, which are set out at ORS 197.295 through ORS 197.314. Specifically, petitioner argues that respondent’s findings do not comply with Metro Code (MC) 3.07.120(E), and that respondent erred when it compared the area of the subject parcel to the area of the city as a whole and then concluded that the zone change results in only a “negligible effect.” LUBA agreed with petitioner, because respondent did not properly compare the area of the subject property and the total land area of the city in accordance with MC 3.07.120(e), which requires a comparison of the reduction of the minimum zoned capacity with the city’s overall minimum zoned residential capacity. Since the city’s findings are inadequate to demonstrate that the reduction in the minimum zoned capacity of the subject property, when compared to the city’s overall minimum zoned residential capacity is “negligible,” as MC 3.07.120(E) requires, this assignment of error is sustained. REMANDED.