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Central Oregon Landwatch v. Deschutes County

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-31-2011
Case #: A148199
Brewer, C.J. for the Court; & Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A148199.pdf

Land Use: An Oregon county ordinance that authorizes including multi-tract sites of 160 acres or more on the county’s Destination Resort Eligible Lands Map does not conflict with ORS 197.455.

Landwatch appealed an order of the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) rejecting Landwatch’s facial challenge to the validity of Deschutes County Ordinance 2010-024. Landwatch argued that the ordinance violates Oregon’s statutory scheme for the mapping and siting of destination resorts by allowing resorts to be sited on 160 contiguous acres or greater under one or multiple ownerships. Landwatch contended that the language of the controlling statute, ORS 197.455, requires single ownership of the land sited for destination resorts. The Court of Appeals rejected Landwatch’s argument, stating that the 160-acre restriction refers to sites, not tracts. Also, the word “site” is not defined by statute, so there is no basis to infer that “site” implies a single ownership requirement. The Court found that as long as the individual tracts of land are approved and mapped under ORS 197.455, there is no prohibition on combining those lands in the future to meet the minimum size requirement of the ordinance. Affirmed.