a first for state history, a Prineville couple became the first family in Oregon to receive a Measure 37 monetary judgment instead of a land use waiver. This would allow them to get the value of the land, instead of being granted a waiver to build on the property. This occurred when the Prineville City Council decided last month to pay Grover and Edith Palin $47,750 for the loss of property value.
Grover Palin makes an interesting point, when he said the council had accepted an appraisal made by city-appointed appraiser Steve Bucknum, who admitted he was likely on the wrong piece of property when he made his evaluation. Palin hired his own appraiser, who determined that the land had a greater value. We believe the council should not have accepted Bucknum's appraisal.
However, we believe the overriding issue is that the Palins should not get a second chance. They initially wanted to build a home there, and then changed their minds and wanted to build another project.
At first, the Palins wanted to build a retirement home on The Rimrock. The Palins had hoped to work with a partner, and build a diner and 12-unit motel atop The Rimrock, with luxury homes below.
We agree with City Attorney Carl Dutli's assessment, that once a "decision has been made, I don't think you can withdraw. I think that is just common sense."
In this scenario, when would the claims from private parties end?
A continuing problem with Measure 37 is just this - its unclear nature, which confuses both property owners and city, county and state officials. This must be resolved.
We had editorialized in favor of voting against Measure 37, believing it would drive land use planning back decades. Now it is state law, and community leaders must find a way to handle claims.
A second issue is where the Palins want to build. The Rimrock is a beautiful area, and is valued by many for its recreational uses. Placing a motel there would diminish its value.
Measure 37 was a poorly written law, and we hope the Oregon State Legislature will take up the measure and clarify what was intended.