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Hundreds of last-minute Measure 37 claims filed

Washington County land-use officials are wrestling with hundreds of Measure 37 claims filed just before Monday's deadline.

The county has 837 claims, one of the highest number in the state. About 160 claims were filed between Friday and Monday, the legal deadline to submit claims for property use, reimbursement or regulation waivers without going through the development process.

County officials are sorting through the new filings and will handle them within the required 180-day time limit, said Mark Brown, county land development manager.

'It's going to be interesting,' Brown said.

At the same time, cities across Washington County and the Board of Commissioners are preparing a memorandum of understanding spelling out how they will handle requests for essential services - water and sewer - from properties that could be developed under the mountain of Measure 37 claims.

Local officials expect to adopt the memorandum soon that says cities and the county cannot - will not - extend water or sewer services to the properties outside the region's urban growth boundary.

Under state law and Metro land-use regulations, the cities cannot provide services to properties being developed outside the boundary, Brown said.

That could leave some of the property owners' plans high and dry, he said.

'It means that they will for the most part be on their own to develop using individual wells on lots or develop a community water supply,' Brown said. 'They'll also have to put in septic systems or some kind of common sewage treatment system.'

Landfill and golf course

Monday was the deadline set by the 2004 measure to file basic land-use claims with local jurisdictions. Beginning Tuesday, cities, counties and the state could require property owners to go through the formal land-use development process and be rejected before applying for a Measure 37 waiver of regulations and zoning restrictions.

Until Monday's deadline, Washington County had received 552 Measure 37 claims covering nearly 20,000 acres. Property owners in the county filed claims for roughly $727 million in compensation.

Monday's filing deadline brought several large-scale proposals. Stimson Lumber Co. of Portland filed more than 40 claims to divide land in western Washington County for housing construction. No amount of housing was listed in the preliminary claim information.

Stimson Lumber owns 400,000 acres of forestland in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Meriwether Ltd. Partnership filed a claim to develop an 18-hole golf course with a nine-hole short course on more than 150 acres at 5200 S.W. Rood Bridge Road.

Howard Grabhorn, owner of Lakeside Reclamation landfill, 14930 S.W. Vandermost Road, filed a claim to expand his operation and possibly add a transfer station and a reloading facility on the site.

County officials have worked with Grabhorn for years to maintain a landfill site that did not extend to his property's boundaries, which encompass about 95 acres near the Tualatin River. The Measure 37 claim could push the operation to the remainder of Grabhorn's property and adjust lot lines.

Owners of Crescent Grove Cemetery filed claims to subdivide about 75 acres and eliminate realignment of Southwest 175th Avenue to allow a residential development on the property.

The cemetery's property is near the intersection of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road, Friendly Lane and Roy Rogers Road.

The company operates a large cemetery on Southwest Greenburg Road near the Washington Square shopping center.

The Measure 37 claim calls for the Scholls Ferry Road property to be divided into 20,000-square-foot lots for residential construction.

Jane Horning also filed a claim to allow a private park and camping on her 46-acre property at 21277 N.W. Brunswick Canyon, far north of North Plains, which has been used for concerts and events in the past few years.

The Hornings' events were limited by county officials following complaints about the property's use.

Brown said county commissioners have given his agency authority to approve or deny claims for five or fewer lots or dwellings.

Claims with six or more lots will be handled by the Board of Commissioners, he said.

At a Glance

Information about Measure 37 can be found on the state Department of Land Conser-vation and Development Web site, www.oregon.gov/LCD/MEASURE37/index.html.

ABOUT MEASURE 37

Voters approved Ballot Measure 37 in November 2004 to allow people who have owned property for many years to develop it under the zoning or regulations that were on the land when they acquired it.

Cities, counties and special districts are required to either grant a waiver from current restrictions or compensate property owners for their land's lost value.

A legal challenge failed in February 2006 when the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the measure was constitutional.