Bora Architects Inc. v. Tillamook County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 11-21-2017
  • Case #: 2017-034/038
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Holstun
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 215.427 the date of the “receipt of [an] application” is the date in which an application is submitted, even if the application fee is not received until a later date. Thus, the 180-day window to complete an application before it is considered “void” under ORS 215.428(3) begins on the date that the initial application is submitted.

Petitioners appeal a board of county commissioners’ decision upholding a planning commission’s decision that granted a preliminary subdivision plat approval for Proposal Rock Cove. The applicant submitted its subdivision application on July 15, 2015. The application consisted entirely of a one-page form. The application fee was received by the county on July 20, 2015. The county took the position that it was not required to consider the application until July 20, 2015, the date that the application fee was received. Under ORS 215.427(2), the county is required to notify an applicant that the application was incomplete within 30 days. The county, believing that the 30-day period began on July 20, 2015, the date in which the fee was received, sent the applicant a letter on August 18, 2015, advising the applicant that the application was incomplete. Upon receiving the letter, there were a number of communications between the county and the applicant, as the applicant prepared the necessary documents to submit prior to the deadline. Then, in a December 30, 2015 e-mail message to the applicant, the county advised the applicant that the 180-day deadline for completing the subdivision application was approaching, and the county erroneously stated that the deadline was January 16, 2016, 180-days from July 20, 2015. On January 15, 2016, the applicant submitted the final documents, and on the same day the county deemed the application complete.

In the first assignment of error, petitioners contend that the applicant’s application was first submitted on July 15, 2015, and under ORS 215.427(4), it became “void” 181 days after that date, which was January 12, 2016. LUBA agreed with petitioners, because the July 15, 2015 “was the date [applicant] first ‘submitted’ its subdivision application within the meaning of ORS 215.427(3)(a) and (4).” ORS 215.427 clearly recognizes that an application may be incomplete when it is first submitted, and there was no authority submitted to suggest that the submission date should be delayed to July 20, 2015 due to the initial failure to pay the application fee. Therefore, the application became “void” on January 12, 2016, and the county exceeded its jurisdiction by approving a “void” application. REVERSED.