County Commissioner Cheryl Thorp was named presiding officer for a standing room only public hearing on the citys proposed Urban Growth Boundary Wednesday night.
Representing Curry County were Commissioners Thorp, Bill Roberts and Lloyd Olds; County Counsel M.G. Herbage, and County Planning Director Chuck Nordstrom.
Representing the City of Brookings were Mayor Bob Hagbom, Councilors Larry Curry, Frances Johns, Keith Pepper and Lorraine Kuhn, City Attorney John Trew and City Planning Director John Bischoff.
On hand from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development were Dave Perry and Jim Hinman.
County Attorney Jerry Herbage explained that this was to be a legislative hearing and relatively informal. Comments should be limited to the remand issue.
Herbage read titles of two ordinances that would come into effect if the proposed remands are adopted: Curry County Comprehensive Plan 0008 and Curry County Urban Growth Boundary.
Following a lengthy explanation of the Urban Growth Boundary and the six remand items by City Planning Director John Bischoff, the audience waited while 18 exhibits were labeled and accepted.
The first audience member to speak was Fred Hummel who asked whether a decision would be made that night.
With the passage of Measure 7 there is a big cloud over land use programs, Hummel said. Lawyers dont know what it means. It was supported by Oregonians In Action, but the governor has said he will repeal it.
Commissioner Roberts said Measure 7 would almost certainly deal with the Urban Growth Boundary.
We wont make a decision at this time, Herbage said. We want to get testimony in.
Using a projected map and a light pen, John Bischoff described the boundary to the audience.
In 1983 the first UGB was established between the city and county, he said. As you can see there was very little developable land in the old boundary.
He said the city formed a committee in 1989 to study the Urban Growth Boundary needs for the next 20 years.
The committee stated the city needed 550 acres, but never defined it as gross acreage or buildable acreage.
Most flat land within the defined area was already developed, and the 550 acre UGB was never adopted, Bischoff said.
With a change in city administration, in 1972 the city started the procedure to establish an Urban Growth Boundary as mandated by the state.
In the meantime, Bischoff said, the state had issued a requirement for communities to create an Urban Reserve, 30 to 50 years worth of land for an Urban Growth Boundary.
Staff developed two study areas an Urban Reserve of 30,000 acres and 5,000 acres for an Urban Growth Boundary.
The city hired a consultant to prepare a needs requirement and a funding document, Bischoff said. That resulted in the current proposed boundary.
Bischoff said the 5,000 acres includes only 890 acres of buildable land.
The UGB was adopted in 1995 by the city and the county. It was presented to the Department of Land Conservation and Development which gave tentative approval except for six remand items.
This decision was appealed to the Land Conservation and Development Commission which upheld the DLCDs decision.
Bischoff said Citizens for Orderly Growth and 1,000 Friends of Oregon challenged the decision in the Oregon Court of Appeals.
After one and one-half years the court upheld the states decision, he said. The Oregon Supreme Court refused to review the appellate process.
Bischoff briefly summarized the city and county response to the six remand issues.
No. 1: Justification for projected commercial land needs. Review of figures used by DLCD were found to be a mixture of two different studies. When the correct figures of a higher base year population and lower projected growth were used, the result was within five acres of the original projection.
No. 2: Water withdrawals from the Chetco River during late summer months to address fish resources. The city is preparing a Water Master and Conservation Management Plan which will include ordinances for the curtailment of water withdrawals in times of low water or other emergencies.
No. 3: Show the six acre Ashcraft parcel and all or part of the 23 acre Itzen parcel are not suitable for farming. This was turned over to the land owners to answer.
No. 4: Adopt zoning standards to limit adverse impacts on farm uses and protect long-term viability of existing farms on Harbor Bench. Only a limited number of parcels have a common boundary with farm land and most are presently developed, so impact to farm land is limited and can be reduced with additional zoning requirements. Staffs met with DLCD and farmers and developed comprehensive plan policies and zoning.
No. 5: Amend UGB management agreement to assure three master and special areas within the UGB be developed to include proposed land uses, utility systems, street system and timeframe for completion. A master plan of development has been developed for the entire property, including roads to the area and construction of a fire station. Implementation is the responsibility of developers.
No. 6: Amended agreements have been submitted to all special districts within the UGB and all have signed the amended agreements.
DLCD Field Representative Dave Perry said the staffs had covered the issues in detail.
This document has been as carefully crafted as any in the state for a community of this size. We are in agreement in large degree with what staff is proposing including the commercial land issue.
Perry was asked whether exclusion of the Itzen and Ashcraft parcels was ultimately the DLCDs responsibility to decide.
Yes, thats a periodic review task, Perry said.
This is a public hearing, Thorp said. I want to hear from the public.
Kathryn Wiley, Duly Creek Road, said a great deal of attention has been given to the farm areas and not much to the water source areas.
I dont believe the response to Item One, said Pete Chasar, Marina Heights Road. It ignores the Brookings-Harbor in-fill strategy. Items One and Two are justified by the doubling or more of the population in the area.
Water storage is 1.4 million gallons short of current needs. This is dramatized by fishing conflicts.
Even the plans author admits conservation would make up only 30 percent of the areas needs.
Richard Lasky, Eggers Road, a member of the Chetco Watershed Council, said on the issue of water, Ferry Creek is a potential water supply. It would take $8 million to develop.
There is plenty of water at times of peak flow. We need to take it out and store it to support the dry season.
Yvonne Maitland, Oceanview Drive, said with the relentless march of time, seven years have passed.
The actual growth rate has been less than seven percent. I predict the growth rate will continue at a splatter.
According to the latest real estate figures, Maitland said, demand has outstripped supply.
We need to turn to infill and redevelopment. There are already 50 commercial listings available. When is enough enough?
As she continued, members of the audience called to her to sit down and Jenny Gillian urged that comments be limited to five minutes.
Elena L. Moore then rose to read a lengthy treatise on urban development.
I believe in you as representatives for the people of this region, Moore told the city and county representatives. I believe you will listen as openly and as fairly to the individuals who nurture and care for the land, as you do the corporations, government officials and Chamber of Commerce, who appear, in my opinion, to want to exploit the land.
I believe it is accurate to say that most of us moved here because of the incredible beauty of this place. Many of us moved away from what this facilities plan is destined to create sprawl.
The first remand calls for 400 acres of commercial land to be developed. Most of us moved here to get away from commercialization. Four hundred acres of new commercial development seems particularly absurd when most of here do not want it and there are numerous vacant commercial spaces which have been empty for several years in downtown Brookings.
These vacancies not only make downtown an eyesore, they show there is a lack of interest in a robust downtown. How can this city possibly expect to develop and take pride in an additional 400 acres of commercial property when commercial properties remain vacant in the heart of downtown?
Im troubled and shocked to read that the former Mayor, Ms. Brendlinger, says, after seeing the alternative to urban sprawl give me urban sprawl, (Curry Coastal Pilot, Saturday, November 4, 2000)
I wonder if she or anyone here is aware of the numerous solutions and alternatives to sprawl that are available?
Moore then quoted several examples, including:
a California architect and author renowned for community designs less dependent on the automobile where services are within walking distance of residences.
Gaviotas in Columbia, South America. They are referred to as a village to reinvent the world.
Jaime Lerner Governor of Parana Stateknown for his innovations in mobility and land use, anda figure of international interest among green thinkers.
You cannot solve a citys problems only with money, you need a change in mentality, Moore quotes Lerner as saying.
We invest in public awareness. When people understand the importance of the projects, they become involved.
Portland architect, Mark Lakeman has done many things to stimulate pride and initiate projects for neighborhood redevelopment, including winning an architectural award for building a structure with recycled material and volunteer labor (to) revitalize an inner-city neighborhood.
As Moore began to continue, Commissioner Thorp asked if she would be finished soon.
Moore asked to be allowed to continue.
The Chetco River is a limited precious resource. It is the lifeblood of this region. The current facilities plan offers seven steps for assuring the devastation of this communitys only water source.
We cannot doom the salmon so that future homeowners can water their lawns. It is our duty and responsibility to guarantee future generations a clean, potable water supply.
With the current plan our water supply will be depleted in a few years and the earth will be silent stone and concrete like the Los Angeles River.
I ask you to make sure that the second remand includes definitive language to ensure the current residents, who depend on the Chetco River for their water supply, that their supply is first and foremost before the golf course and any new development.
Water rationing is not a solution. The threat to fish habitat must be addressed. If not now, then when, and if not here, then where When these first two remands are corrected, the other four will be less critical.
When you make your decision, remember, our water is sacred, let us use it wisely.
Gary Strahm, Oceanview Drive, addressed Item No. 3.
Ive lived in the area since 1957 and own and operate Strahm Lilies. The Itzen property is in a swampy area. They tried to raise lilies there and were unsuccessful because of the rocky, shallow soils.
If it could be used as a lily farm it would be used as a lily farm.
As to Item 4 the Harbor Bench protection I feel the protections weve come up with address the concerns.
Strahm sat down to strong applause.
Al Johnson, Eugene, representing Borax, Harbor Construction and Reservation Ranch said he was representing his clients in support of the remand items.
My clients are well aware that they have substantial responsibilities, he said.
Johnson said his clients were well aware of how to build livable communities.
A review is currently underway based on Bernard Maybecks style of architecture.
The main message is its important to bring closure to this process. We have the opportunity to lock in some protections that we might not otherwise been able to lock in.
I express my clients appreciation for the growth plan. It will work because requirements are built in.
Lee Thomas, president of Curry County Homebuilders said: I love Brookings and its people. I ask that everybody accept the issues so we can have healthy growth.
Thorp closed the meeting at 9 p.m.Roberts made a motion that the meeting be continued until Nov. 28. For the city, Councilor Frances Johns made a motion to the same effect and Keith Pepper seconded it.