LUBA tells city to revisit waterfront

The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals ruled Friday morning that the City of Hood River must reconsider several points of its recent decision to allow construction of a hotel and commercial building on the Hood River waterfront.

LUBA sent the decision back to the city (known as a remand), sustaining a subset of the five assignments of error outlined by Friends of the Hood River Waterfront in its appeal over the city’s approval of the project.

LUBA considers appeals of land-use rulings based on alleged “errors” potentially committed by the governmental body in applying land use regulations; in this case, the City of Hood River was the governing body.

The city council had approved the project, which would place a four-story Hampton Inn and a 20,000-square-foot commercial building at the south end of the Nichols basin on the Hood River Waterfront. The environmental nonprofit Friends of the Hood River Waterfront appealed the decision to LUBA.

What’s Next:

Oregon Land use Board of Appeals says city must address “errors” in Naito hotel development decision.

In the first assignment of error, Friends contended that the City did not give proper consideration to Hood River City Planning Goal Seven. In its appeal, Friends stated particular concern over Goal 7 Policy 1, which states:

“Floodplains will be maintained as natural drainage ways. No permanent structures other than dams and bridges shall be permitted which inhibit flood stream flows or endanger other property;” and Goal 7 Policy 4, which states:

“In cases where detailed mapping of 100-year floodplains is not complete, the 100-year floodplain will be determined ...” (through a variety of stipulated methods).

In its remand decision, LUBA stated that the city council must “directly address the question of whether ... those HRCP Goal 7 provisions are mandatory approval criteria or considerations that the city council is required to address in granting conditional use approval for the disputed proposal.”

If they are determined to be mandatory, the city must demonstrate that the proposal is consistent with those provisions.

LUBA points out that Friends made a weak case in its first assignment of error but went on to say “It is not clear to us why those HRCP Goal 7 requirements are inapplicable here. Given the lack of a direct response from the city council in its findings concerning the above-quoted HRCP Goal 7 provisions, and the lack of any argument that petitioners failed to raise the issue of the applicability of those HRCP Goal 7 provisions below, we sustain the first assignment of error.”

LUBA also remanded the decision on Friends’ third assignment of error that protests against the city’s refusal to reopen the record for a Friends response to three items of newly submitted evidence.

These new evidence included: a letter from ODFW expressing concern for the effects the development would have on fish in the basin; four studies related to the effects of storm water runoff on fish in the basin and comments relating to the potential harmful effects of a cable park in the basin on fish.

The cable park portion of the development was eventually dropped after the Port of Hood River refused to offer a lease for that portion of the project.

LUBA responded in its order that the planning commission assumed petitioners simply wished to submit more opposition evidence rather than rebut the new evidence. The city, then, in error, refused to reopen the record allowing Friends to respond.

Friends contended the planning commission’s refusal to reopen the record is inconsistent with Oregon Statute (ORS) 197.763(6)(c). LUBA agreed with petitioners.

The statute states:

“Any participant may file a written request with the local government for an opportunity to respond to new evidence submitted during the period the record was left open. If such a request is filed, the hearings authority shall reopen the record pursuant to [ORS 197.763(7)].”

LUBA also partially upheld the fourth assignment of error in the case, tied to water quality impacts of the development.

LUBA said it could not fully rule on the matter because the city attempted to supplement the record to LUBA after the deadline had expired, and significant portions of the city’s rebuttal argument to the water quality claims relied on those late-submitted documents.

LUBA’s remand stated:

“That evidentiary uncertainty makes it inappropriate for us to attempt to resolve petitioners’ evidentiary challenge here.

“On remand, once the record is closed, the city council will have an opportunity to determine whether it remains of the view that the HRMC 17.16.040(C) ‘no adverse effect’ standard is satisfied in this case with regard to water quality, and to adopt any supplemental findings or conditions it believes are necessary to support that view.”

In the conclusion of its order, LUBA reiterates that the city council must determine if the criteria under Goal 7 are “mandatory approval criteria” or less-stringent “considerations” in granting conditional use and site plan approval in this case.

If the City determines they are mandatory, the city council will need to ensure that the proposal complies with the HRCP Goal 7, potentially affecting the location of the proposed buildings.

LUBA also ordered the City to reopen the record to allow the petitioners to respond to new evidence that was submitted before the record in the case closed on April 12, 2012.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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