Neighbors for Smart Growth v. Washington County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 11-20-2017
  • Case #: 2016-122
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 197.835 authorizes LUBA to reverse or remand a land use decision if the local government failed to follow applicable procedures in deciding a matter, and that failure prejudiced substantial rights of the petitioner.

Westhaven subdivision is located in Washington County. In 2014, the original subdivision developer entered into a private agreement with a local resident group to dedicate the Easement on the east side of Lot 13. Lennar Northwest, Inc., (“Intervenor”) purchased some of the lots from the developer, and in June of 2016, submitted an application to vacate the Easement. Intervenor sought to vacate the Easement from the east side of Lot 13 to the west side of Lot 13. Following a hearing where petitioners were present, the county board of commissioners voted to vacate the Easement. This appeal to LUBA followed.

On the second assignment of error, petitioners argue that the county’s decision is based on inadequate findings and is “not supported by substantial evidence in the whole record.” Specifically, petitioners claim the county failed to adopt sufficient findings in support of Resolution and Ordinance 84-261. 84-261 requires the county to determine that a public easement vacation is in the public interest. Respondents argue that no party raised any issues regarding 84-261, therefore any issue regarding 84-261 is waived. Petitioner states that it raised issues regarding the impact on public safety if the vacation was approved. These issues were not addressed by the county. Therefore, LUBA agrees with petitioner that remand is necessary for the county to adopt more adequate findings addressing the issues raised by petitioner. REMANDED.