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Commission denies subdivision proposals


   In a split vote, the Jefferson County Planning Commission upheld appeals Jan. 24 and denied applications for two large subdivisions proposed under Measure 37.
   "I think it's unfortunate that these people got caught in this situation," said vice chairman Evan Thomas. "It's not an easy situation."
   On Jan. 10, the commission took testimony on the two cases and left the record open for a week.
   In the first case, Jim and Darla Waldorf, of Madras, obtained a Measure 37 waiver in 2005 to allow them to subdivide a 56-acre property off Bear Drive into 44 lots and construct homes on 42 of the lots.
   The Waldorfs purchased the property in 1961, before land-use planning, and intended to eventually divide it and sell parcels. When land-use laws were introduced in the 1970s, that was no longer possible.
   Measure 37, passed statewide in November of 2004, allowed property owners to seek waivers of regulations that reduced the value or restricted the use of their property.
   Although staff originally recommended that the commission approve the Waldorfs' subdivison plans, after the passage of Measure 49, which modified Measure 37, the staff report was changed.
   "We were all scrambling to figure out what do we do," recalled Margaret Boutell, community development director. "A couple days after it passed, we added the Measure 49 condition."
   By adding the condition that the subdivision comply with Measure 49, said County Counsel David Allen, "that's tantamount to a denial."
   The Waldorfs' application was appealed by Mickey Killingsworth.
   In the second case, Bill and Darlene Hoffman, of Madras, received a waiver to subdivide a 187-acre parcel on Northwest Fir Lane into 60 lots and construct dwellings on 59 lots.
   However, the Hoffmans were unable to obtain a building permit. Central Oregon Land Watch and a group of neighbors appealed the application.
   In both cases, the commission voted 3-2 to deny the applications, with Thomas, Jim Day and Kay Moon supporting the motion, and Bob Powers and Don Martin voting against it. Commissioner Roy Hyder recused himself from both votes.
   The Waldorfs and Hoffmans can appeal the Planning Commission decisions to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners.