COUNTY WINS APPEAL
October 03, 2000 11:00 pm

GOLD BEACH Curry County not only survived a recent appeal of one of its land-use decisions at the state level, but undid decades of bad feelings with the Land Use Board of Appeals.

Jeff Boiler, special counsel for the county in the Crook vs. Curry County case, said Monday that the appeals board is convinced Curry County is applying land use law in the highest and best interest of the state.

In light of the countys battle with state agencies over land use law since 1979, Boiler said This is a rare event.

The board unanimously ruled on Sept. 15 to back the commissioners decision that the structure and use of a vacation rental owned by William, James and Ron Crook was a nonconforming use.

Ron Crook manages the Curry County fairgrounds.

The commissioners had ruled, after four proceedings earlier this year, that the structure and its use was not a valid preexisting use on the property.

The Crooks appealed to the state with allegations that the commissioners had not followed procedure.

That process, developed by Curry County Counsel Jerry Herbage, was exactly what impressed the appeals board so much, said Boiler.

Herbage declared a conflict of interest because of a family member and bowed out of the process early, but Boiler credited him with the victory.

You couldnt have been more right, he told the commissioners, Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Boiler, a property owners rights advocate, said, This decision vindicates property owners rights to some degree.

Elements of the countys process and decision will now go into state law, he said.

Curry County was dragged kicking and screaming into the state land-use process, said Boiler, which gave it a black eye with land-use agencies.

The September ruling undid decades of ill will, said Boiler, and will make the countys future dealings with the appeals board easier and less expensive.

It will pay dividends, said Boiler of the decision.

Commissioner Bill Roberts said, Im happy the state felt were applying the laws correctly.

Roberts said he and Commissioner Lloyd Olds have worked for years to make sure they are following state land-use law.

Olds said he is a 100 percent believer in property owners land-use rights, but feels those rights should not be any greater or lesser than those of their neighbors.

That had a lot to do with our decision, he said.

Commissioner Cheryl Thorp thanked Boiler for his good guidance.

Following an executive session Monday, the commissioners voted to further authorize Jeff Boiler to proceed in a manner most advantageous to the county.

Thorp said Tuesday that the county has spent $33,108 on the case so far. She said the Crooks have also paid nothing to the county in permit fees and taxes on the vacation rental.

We need to get our money back, she said.

Thorp is also concerned that the county is liable if anyone gets hurt in the home. She said renters have included Rep. Peter DeFazio.