County to overhaul zone rules

Commissioners continue to look at changes, postpone action to August

The conversation on whether or not to revise Hood River County’s zoning ordinance will continue for at least another month.

Substantial changes to the proposed ordinance change were presented at the Monday, July 16, Commission meeting, but Commission Chair Ron Rivers declined to take any further action, due to the absence of commissioners Les Perkins and Maui Meyer.

Revisions to the proposed changes were presented to the commission by County Planner Eric Walker, following meetings by county planning staff with Perkins and commissioner Bob Benton over some of the concerns both had with the document.

Among the changes to the proposed ordinance are allowing all houses, regardless of size, to have an accessory building of up to 1,500 square feet. On parcels larger than 2.5 acres, both commissioners proposed allowing buildings to be larger, as long as they did not exceed the size of the residence, while also supporting language that allows exceptions through conditional use permits.

Eliminated from the ordinance entirely were limits on proposed maximum building size, standards concerning hallways, standards concerning wet bars, restrictions on laundry facilities within accessory buildings, restrictions on metal cargo containers and proposed standards on refrigerators and counter height electrical outlets as part of a decommissioned former dwelling.

The mention of the removal of the wet bar restrictions drew a smattering of applause from the audience.

In his meeting with county planning staff, Perkins expressed support for maintaining a limit of a half-bath in guest facilities. However, at Monday’s meeting Commissioner Karen Joplin said she would be in favor of allowing a full bath in guest quarters.

“It makes sense for a remote guest location or guest quarters to have a full bath,” she said.

However, Benton said he may be in favor of removing the guest quarters provision entirely.

“I don’t know if it is the appropriate time to draw the line or if that is where the line should be drawn,” he said.

Rivers continued the public hearing on the changes and said the commission will continue to look at the issue at its Aug. 20 meeting.

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