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Johnson v. Deschutes County

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-28-2012
Case #: A144929
Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A144929.pdf

Land Use: The proper analysis for determining a common law vested right to develop property under section 5(3) of Measure 49 was handed down in Friends of Yamhill County v. Board of Commissioners . However, in reviewing a hearings officer determination, the writ of review court cannot render its own factual findings.

Respondent Deschutes County (Deschutes) appealed the judgment of a writ of review proceeding that vacated a hearings officer’s determination. Petitioner John Johnson (Johnson) received Measure 37 waivers allowing the development of 40 residential lots in four phases. Johnson incurred development costs and received final approval for one phase prior to Measure 49 taking effect. Johnson applied for a determination from Deschutes that he had a common law vested right to develop the remaining phases in accordance with section 5(3) of Measure 49. The hearings officer determined Johnson did not have a common law vested right after applying an analysis from Friends of Yamhill County v. Board of Commissioners (Friends I). Johnson sought review of this determination in circuit court; wherein the writ of review court based their order to vacate the prior determination on their own detailed findings. Deschutes appealed and the Court of Appeals vacated the writ of review court’s judgment. The Court held that while the hearings officer erred in applying the Friends I analysis, when a Friends II analysis is proper, the writ of review court cannot render its own factual findings nor require reconsideration consistent with such findings. Vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of Friends II.