Newberg UGB proposal headed to state agency for review
Land use Opponents invited to submit objections to the Department of Land Conservation and Development
Yamhill Countys recent approval of the city of Newbergs request to include an additional 260 acres in its urban growth boundary (UGB) was formally noticed last week, opening a window within which opponents of the project may file objections before the matter it heads to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.
The Board of Commissioners approved the expansion which would create a large area for industrially zoned land south of Newberg near Highway 219 July 18, but the notice of the decision was released by the Planning and Building Department Aug. 13. The notice opens a three-week window, making the deadline for objections Sept. 3.
According to Planning and Building Director Barton Brierley, potential objectors at the state level must meet three conditions. They must have previously participated in a public hearing on the UGB at the county or city level, either in person or in writing; they must explain their objections in terms of what goals, rules or statutes they believe have been violated and why; and they must recommend a specific change that would resolve their objection or objections.
They have to be very specific, Brierley said. If they think we didnt meet some particular goal, statute or rule they have to be specific about what that goal, statute or rule was.
Once the Sept. 3 deadline has passed, the state has several options available to it. The department may rule on its own, either to approve or deny the citys request, or it may forward the matter on to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) for a hearing. If the department rules outright, either the city or opponents of the project may appeal that decision to the LCDC.
According to Sid Friedman, a spokesman for the land-use activist group Friends of Yamhill County and its state-level parent organization 1000 Friends of Oregon (both of which have long opposed Newbergs UGB proposal), the project appears virtually guaranteed to be heard before the LCDC.
Ultimately, this is almost certainly headed to a hearing before the commission, he said. One way or the other, a party will wind up appealing.
Brierley expressed the same expectation. He also predicted that, if the state upholds Yamhill Countys decision, the matter will be continued to the Court of Appeals.
We expect this to be appealed to the court system, he said.
The final avenue would be before the Oregon Supreme Court, a body that already ruled on a related part of this project in 2011, when the citys Employment Opportunity Analysis was appealed to the high court. Newbergs efforts to expand its UGB have spanned a number of years, but Brierley said he expects the process to take at least a couple more before all is said and done.
Friedman, too, lamented the course, saying that the citys current proposal is over-reaching in terms of the amount of industrial land it targets. He said he also believes the proposal underestimates the ability of the existing city limits, UGB and urban reserves to meet its needs.
Before the proposal was approved at the city level, Friends had developed a compromise proposal with several Newberg officials that would have expanded the UGB without annexing the two large parcels of prime farm land that opponents most object to being included.
This compromise was never accepted by the City Council, but Friedman said he believes that the proposal that is ultimately approved, either by the state or the court system, will differ significantly from its current form.
Were reasonably confident that, eventually, the UGB expansion will be scaled back substantially, either in location or in overall size, said Friedman, whose group plans to be among those submitting objections at the state level. But what it ultimately looks like, Im not going to speculate.
Written objections may be submitted to Attention: Periodic Review Specialist at the Department of Land Conservation and Development, 635 Capitol St. N.E., Suite 150, Salem, OR 97301. A copy should also be sent to the Newberg Planning Division at P.O. Box 970, Newberg, OR 97132.