> Longtime Jefferson County residents Tom and Marian McDonald got the go-ahead April 11 from the County Commission for a rural residential community -- similar to a destination resort -- on 6,240 acres in the Ashwood area.
At full build out, the community could have as many as 4,200 homes on homesites ranging from 5.5 acres, down to 10,000-square-foot lots. By comparison, the city of Madras has 2,995 acres within its boundaries, and about 1,270 home sites.
The approval came in the form of a Measure 37 waiver -- among 11 granted to property owners in early April and late March.
Measure 37, passed by Oregon voters in November of 2004, allows property owners to seek compensation or a waiver when state or local government passes regulations that restrict use of, and reduce the value of, their property.
Date of acquisition is a key component in a Measure 37 claim, since the measure only allows a waiver of land-use regulations passed after the owner acquired the property. In this case, as in numerous others, the commission had to sort through acquisition dates.
Tom McDonald acquired an interest in the property when his father, Alex McDonald, died in 1945, and later entered into an agreement to lease the property from his mother, Elizabeth McDonald, with an option to buy in 1963. The majority of the property was conveyed to him by a deed on Dec. 22, 1972. The property was not zoned throughout those years.
Although he and Marian were married in 1953, her name was not on the original lease agreement, but did appear on a subsequent mortgage. Tom McDonald conveyed a half-interest in the property to Marian McDonald in 2002, when the property was zoned rangeland, with 160-acre minimum parcels -- as it is currently.
Tom McDonald insisted that his wife was a co-owner of the property from the beginning of their marriage. "I think our vows said `share and share alike,'" he said. "She was a part of the operation all the way through."
The commission agreed with the McDonalds' attorney Wendie Kellington that Marian McDonald was an owner, at least as far back as 1956, when she conveyed a partial interest in the property to someone else.
However, the commission disagreed with the McDonalds' contention that following county road standards would restrict use of the property by prohibiting private roads, requiring offsite road improvements, and requiring roads to be constructed to unnecessary standards.
Jeff Myhre, president of Myhre Group Architects, of Portland, which has drawn up a conceptual land-use plan for the McDonalds, assured the commission that roads would still be built to strict standards.
Commissioner Bill Bellamy pointed out that on March 28, the commission unanimously decided not to allow private roads, except at a destination resort.
"We're not going to allow private roads because of all the other issues that come about," he said.
McDonald explained that they plan to develop the property to high standards. "We want a quality development, and we don't want to be a burden to our neighbors," he said.
County counsel David Allen suggested that much of the property would be eligible for destination resort siting if the McDonalds were interested in pursuing the designation.
"We want to do something for Jefferson County," said Kellington. "What we're trying to avoid is the state destination resort standards; they're just too restrictive."
The property has a total real market value of $3,666,600, but could be worth more than a hundred times that amount if divided.
The commission waived regulations back to 1956, and asked the county counsel to work with the McDonalds' representatives on related issues.
The commission approved four other waivers April 11, including three for Patricia H. Fleshman of Santa Monica, Calif., and one for Jack D. Alley of Culver.
. Fleshman acquired four parcels totaling 268.23 acres of rangeland in a wildlife overlay area in the Three Rivers Recreatin Area in 1993. Although the zone remains the same, current regulations are more restrictive. The commission granted a waiver allowing a 158.32-acre parcel to be divided into two parcels, each with a dwelling, and each of the other three smaller parcels to have a dwelling.
. Fleshman was granted a waiver to place a dwelling on an 8.62-acre parcel in a rural residential zone one-half mile east of the Lake Billy Chinook Airport.
. Fleshman acquired a 19-acre parcel in a rural service center zone west of Rim Park Estates and east of Airpark Estates in 1993. The property is currently zoned rangeland. She was granted a waiver to allow commercial uses, or single-family dwellings on a minimum of 10,000 square feet of property.
. Alley acquired an interest in 39.39 acres, located east of Green Drive and south of Iris Lane in Culver in 1962. Currently zoned for exclusive farm use, the property was not zoned at that time. Alley received a waiver to divide the parcel into lots of about 2 acres each, with a dwelling on each.
The commission approved six waivers on March 28, including:
. Robert and Barbara Jasa, of Madras, requested a waiver on 118.25 acres on the southeast corner of Southwest Bear Drive and Ashwood Road. Robert Jasa acquired the property in 1970, when in was in an A-1 agricultural district, which allowed 1-acre minimum lot sizes. Barbara Jasa acquired a half-interest in 1992, when it was zoned for exclusive farm use, as it is now. The commission granted a waiver to allow Robert Jasa to develop 2-acre homesites, as requested.
. John and Jodi Eagan, of Madras, were granted a waiver to allow one farm dwelling on 134 acres of exclusive farm use property on Northwest Juniper Lane. The Eagans acquired the property in 1983, when a farm dwelling was permitted on parcels of at least 80 acres, without an income test.
. The Eagans acquired 117.65 acres of unzoned property on Northwest Juniper Lane in 1970. They were granted a second waiver to allow them to build one farm dwelling on the property, which is currently zoned EFU.
. Weigand Ranches Inc. was granted a waiver to divide 134.64 acres on the north side of Juniper Lane and Adams Drive into minimum of 5-acre lots, with a dwelling on each. The corporation acquired the property, now zoned EFU, in 1964, when it was not zoned.
. Robert D. Powers, of Culver, was granted a waiver to divide 5.2 acres of property in the Three Rivers Recreation Area into two lots with a dwelling on each. Powers acquired the property in 1974, when it was not zoned.
. Five of Robert and Marion Powers' six adult children were granted a waiver to divide 5.1 acres on Pixie Lane in the Three Rivers Recreation Area into two lots with a dwelling on each. Lori J. Powers-Pearl, Robert D. Powers Jr., Tammi Powers-McClellan, Steven M. Powers, Tommy L. Powers, and Christie Powers-Young acquired the property, with their parents as custodians, in 1974. Tommy Powers released his interest in 2002.