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Land-use sidebar: Land and cattle company takes steps in preparation for appeal

Ponderosa Land & Cattle Company recently purchased 12,000 acres from Weyerhaeuser for $12 million

   April 2, 2003 — Proposed changes to the county’s Forest Management Zone have caught the attention of the Ponderosa Land & Cattle Company. Its attorney offered testimony and written comments last Wednesday hinting an appeal might be imminent.
    Ponderosa recently purchased more than 12,000 acres of forestland for $12 million from Weyerhaeuser in an area known as Squawback Tract, east of Camp Sherman. Dorothy Cofield, the company’s attorney, submitted comments arguing that substantial changes to the Forest Management Zone were not noticed properly.
    Testifying before the commission, Cofield said there are “serious flaws” in the proposed changes and the way they were reached. She said the company had just learned of the changes one week earlier.
    The company believes the proposed revisions are not consistent with state law, according to a six-page letter it submitted into the record.
    The current draft before commissioners Mary Zemke, Walt Ponsford and Bill Bellamy rolls back development restrictions in the Forest Management Zone to standards adopted by the county in 1996. The rollback prohibits the partitioning of lots in this zone.
    The previous ordinance, adopted and appealed twice last year, would have allowed dwellings on lots no smaller than 240 acres — three times more than the minimum required under state law.
    In its letter, Ponderosa urges the commissioners to adopt an ordinance that will allow dwellings on 240-acre lots and the possible development of a destination resort.
    The company also states that it has the grounds to appeal adoption of the ordinance as written to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
    “We’ve got to protect whatever appeal rights they need but no decision has been made yet,” Cofield said.
    — Troy Foster