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Planners deny Powell Butte store application

Powell Butte won't get a second store, proposed for the corner of Hwy 126 and Alfalfa Road, unless the developer appeals the planning commission decision and wins
Crook County Planners voted down an application that would have doubled shopping opportunities in the Powell Butte area.
   The proposal was for a convenience store/post office and office space to be built on the corner of Highway 126 and Alfalfa Road. After touring the site and listening to various proponents and opponents to the project, the planners voted to deny the permit.
   A few years ago, a small convenience store and gas station, along with the post office were on that corner. The site is currently occupied by the post office and a residence. These structures were to have been replaced by the new single, 6,000 square-foot building.
   Originally, the permit application was filed last spring and a public hearing was held. After the hearing, the permit application was tabled at the request of the applicant. It was taken up again early in August.
   The planners, in deciding to turn down the application, talked about the project's "scope, size and the intensity of the project," according to Chet Petersen, chairman of the county planning commission. The submitted application was too big for the property. "The proposal was to attract new business and not to serve the residents already there, and I thought that was wrong," he added.
   County Planning Director Bill Zelenka agreed. The new businesses would conceivably not fit in the county's comprehensive plan, he explained. To meet the requirements for a commercial business in the rural zoned designation, that business would have to serve the local community.
   "This site, which in the 1980s had a small store and service station and the post office," he said. "Now that has been combined into a project that is far greater that the business that was there and beyond the scope of the Comp Plan - beyond the needs of the small rural community."
   Another issue was the projected growth of traffic that the businesses would generate on that corner. At least one expert witness, an Oregon State Trooper who lives in that area, told the planners that corner already is one of the most dangerous corners on the highway.
   The final vote was 5-1 with one member absent. Petersen explained that the single vote, cast by Commissioner Kim Kamback, was not in favor of the project but rather against the language of the motion itself. In the discussion, Kamback had voiced her concerns with the wording but indicated "she was not for putting it out there," Petersen said. "I believe the final decision will be unanimous."
   That final decision will be the first item on next Wednesday evenings agenda.
   The second item on that agenda will be the application for a permit to allow a combined church, the Mission for the Common Belief, wedding chapel and bed and breakfast at a residence on Lamonta Road. The planners will tour the church/business in the afternoon prior to the meeting.
   The county planning commission meeting begins at city hall at 7 p.m.