The passage of Measure 7 has put all Curry County land-use decisions on hold, including any agreement with the City of Brookings over the expansion of its urban growth boundary.
Measure 7, approved last week by 53 percent of the voters, requires state and local governments to pay property owners if laws or regulations reduce their property values.
The state treasurer estimated the cost to be $1.6 billion a year for the state and $3.8 billion a year for local governments.
Measure 7 was the hot topic at the Association of Oregon Counties conference last week in Eugene. The meeting was attended by the Curry County commissioners, commissioners-elect, and County Counsel Jerry Herbage.
At Mondays commissioners meeting, Herbage said of the measure, There were so many questions you wouldnt believe it.
He and other county counsels met for hours over the measure at the conference. There is great debate about what it means, he said.
The measure is poorly written, possibly by design, he said. The authors may have hoped that it would force governments to stop enforcing land use ordinances for fear of what it might cost, he said.
Commissioner Lloyd Olds said hed heard Jackson County and the State of Oregon had already been sued for $50 million for turning down a company on gravel removal.
Herbage said, Those who wrote the measure knew the governments didnt have the money.
He said county counsels are working on a draft ordinance to address claims. Commissioner-elect Marlyn Schafer said governments would have to pay claims within 90 days. Herbage emphasized that the measure officially goes into effect on Pearl Harbor Day.
A lot of people will be working on it in the next two weeks, he said.
County Commissioner Cheryl Thorp said Gov. Kitzhaber sent a list of questions about the measure, two pages long, to the state attorney general. The answers are expected in about two weeks.
As a result, said Thorp, land-use decisions are on hold until the state and local governments have more information. She said the commissioners will go ahead with the urban growth boundary hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday to receive more testimony from citizens.
The meeting will be held in the conference room of the Best Western Brookings Inn on Chetco Avenue. The commissioners, however, have no intention of signing off on anything at that meeting.
Commissioner Lloyd Olds said of the measure, People will be arguing for a long time. He said the urban growth boundary decision will probably fall to Schafer and Commissioner-elect Lucie La Bont.
He wouldnt sign off on the boundary expansion until Herbage could look him in the eye and tell him there would be no problem with Measure 7.