Central Oregon Landwatch v. Deschutes County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Municipal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-04-2017
  • Case #: 2016-056
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Deschutes County Code, a deed conveying multiple units of land using a single boundary description does not have the effect of consolidating previously separate units into a single, newly-created unit of land. Under DCC 18.04.030(A)(5), the term “partitioning” embraces partitions that occurred prior to the establishment of official ORS 92 partition procedure.

The State of Oregon conveyed the 930-acre subject property to the Tumalo Irrigation District (TID) via quitclaim deed in 1988. In 2004, TID applied to the county for a “lot of record” verification for the property. A “lot of record,” as defined in the county code, is a unit of land meeting certain size requirements and created in one of several prescribed ways. A county planner concluded that TID’s property included eight parcels qualifying as lots of record, along with four other units of land.

Petitioner first argues that the 1988 quitclaim deed consolidated any parcels within TID’s property into a single unit. Because that single unit was not created in a manner that would qualify it as a lot of record under DCC 18.04.030, the county erred in concluding that eight units of the property were lots of record. The county noted, and LUBA agreed, that petitioner cites state or local land use law to support this proposition. The county found, and LUBA agreed, that under DDC the consolidation of discrete lots or parcels can only be accomplished by means of a county process that requires county land use approval, as opposed to a deed with a single land description. Accordingly, LUBA rejected petitioner’s first argument.

Petitioner next argues that the county misinterpreted DCC 18.04.030(A)(5), which provides that a unit of land qualified as a lot of record where, among other requirements, it was created by “subdividing” or “partitioning.” Petitioner argues that these terms refer to official subdividing and partitioning under ORS 92. As certain units of the subject property were created from partitions predating the establishment of ORS 92 partitions, such units cannot qualify as lots of record. The county disagreed, defining “partitioning” broadly to include partitions that occurred before establishment of the partition process in ORS 92. LUBA, finding the county interpretation not “implausible,” agreed. Affirmed.