Central Oregon Landwatch v. Deschutes County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 06-15-2017
  • Case #: 2017-009
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Holstun
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Deschutes County Comprehensive Plan Section 3.4, the Rural Industrial map designation, and corresponding RI zone, applies only to the enumerated “exception areas,” rather than any rural land in an unincorporated community that lacks Goal 3 or 4 resource protection.

Petitioner appeals a land use decision by the board of county commissioners concerning a 21.59-acre parcel between Redmond and Bend; the decision changed the Deschutes County Comprehensive Plan (DCCP) map designation from Agricultural to Rural Industrial and the zoning from Exclusive Farm Use Tumalo/Bend Subzone (EFU) to Rural Industrial (RI).

On the first assignment of error, petitioner argued that the RI DCCP map designations, and thus the corresponding RI zone, is limited to certain existing “exception areas” listed in the DCCP. The text of DCCP Section 3.4 provides that “[t]he Rural Industrial plan designation applies to specific exception areas located outside unincorporated communities and urban growth boundaries.” Section 3.4 then lists three specific exception areas, including the Deschutes Junction site adjacent to, but separate from, the subject parcel.

Notwithstanding the DCCP’s reference to “specific” exception areas, the county argued that the RI designation could apply broadly to any rural land located outside designated unincorporated communities and not planned or zoned for resource protection under Goals 3 or 4. Petitioner argued, and LUBA agreed, that the plain language of DCCP Section 3.4 applies the map designation only to the three exception areas; as the subject parcel is not among these enumerated “exception areas,” the county cannot designate it RI. LUBA’s standard of review under ORS 197.829(1) is deferential. However, under ORS 197.829(1)(a), LUBA held the county’s interpretation “inconsistent with the express language” of DCCP Section 3.4 and therefore not affirmable. LUBA found the first assignment of error dispositive, and so it did not reach the petitioner’s subsequent assignments of error. REVERSED.