Ten-year plan review

Gorge Commission adopts revised land use discussion list


The Dalles Chronicle

Columbia River Gorge Commissioners made clear Tuesday that discussion of a general land-use topic in plan review would not necessarily lead to new uses in the National Scenic Area.

But some gorge residents and county planners are hopeful it will.

Making only a few changes, commissioners adopted a list of general land-use issues recommended by commission and Forest Service staff for further study and discussion under the Congressionally-mandated management plan review. The initial list of general land-use topics came from comments gathered during public outreach when citizens, gorge counties and other stakeholders were asked to offer input on what should be included in plan review.

In Tuesday's meeting, senior commission planner Allen Bell and Forest Service planning team leader Virginia Kelly went through the issues, offering explanations on each as to why they were recommended or not recommended for further discussion.

Some of the criteria for inclusion on the list considered if the topic was the subject of appeals, a "headache" to implement, if it was a priority of a partner agency or one of the counties, or if the issue had received many comments during public outreach. With some of the issues, new land uses will be considered which could mean business expansion for some gorge residents.

Of interest to bed and breakfast owners, the commission will take under consideration whether or not to allow such operations to host additional commercial events -- weddings, corporate parties, and festivals. Currently, gorge wineries located in lands designated "residential" are not allowed to operate a tasting room or makes sales, although they are allowed to grow grapes and process them. Commissioners will consider whether or not to allow this new use.

Wasco County planner Todd Cornett urged gorge commissioners to consider allowing temporary mining as a means for scenic enhancement. Cornett said the county has not worked out any details, but they have an idea to reclaim about a dozen non-operating rock quarries along the Historic Columbia River Highway (Highway 30). Rock removed would be sold to fund the land enhancement at the site, according to Cornett. The commission added mining under "enhancement projects" to the list for further plan review discussion.

"Clean up" tasks such as correcting omissions or errors in the management plan are also included. For example, under "additions to dwellings" the first part of the plan contains guidelines for additions, but the second part does not include additions in the list of "review uses." Plan work will also involve clarifying definitions and guidelines such as those with cluster developments.

Commissioner Kathy Sheehan cautioned restraint in piling on additional land-use topics which may not be real problems warranting further study. Dave Robertson agreed with her sentiments and reminded the commission about financial limits of the plan review budget. He and Sheehan both voted "no" on a motion from Ken Adcock, commissioner from Klickitat, to add "schools" for further discussion.

According to commission and Forest Service staff, they chose to not place schools on the list because only one person made a comment on the issue, asking for new schools to be allowed in the general management area. Also, there have been no appeals, litigation or implementation problems, said commission staff.

Jurgen Hess of the Forest Service suggested some related issues could be discussed later under the specific topic of "economic development," which the commission will take up later in plan review. Congress mandates that the gorge commission review the National Scenic Area management plan every 10 years to see how well it is working to fulfill the intent of the 1986 Scenic Act -- protect gorge resources and provide for economic development within designated urban areas.

Land use, along with scenic resources, is considered the most complex of the 17 broad issues the commission will address during plan review, according to commission staff. For more information or related plan review documents, visit www.gorgecommission.org or call 509-493-3323.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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