Land Use Planning: Goal 8 Process


Background: Hood River County is proposing a destination resort zoning ordinance through Goal 8 of the state land use laws. The ordinance will include a map showing where a new DR zone could potentially allow a destination resort. The ordinance provides for direction to the County Planning Commission, Staff and Board of County Commissioners on how the new zoning category will protect and enhance economic, natural, historic, scenic, farm and forest and other resources. The County Planning Commission is asking citizens and groups for input to make improvements to the proposal.

While there are some good aspects, the ordinance and map as proposed are woefully inadequate. Due to major omissions the ordinance in its current form will not protect significant County resources we all hold dear. Resorts approved under the current ordinance could harm the ailing economy and accelerate the slide to becoming primarily service-sector based.

The following are suggested talking points when writing about the flawed Goal 8 process: (click here for print version)

A. Errors in the maps and definitions. We recently found out that the consultant used the Farm Service Agency (FSA) map as we previously had been told, but he mistakenly used the small squares on the map as parcels. The FSA map was made to mark which fields were signed up for federal crop insurance or federal programs, not as parcels. Each field or "orchard block" that has either a different amount or kind of production is marked as a different field. Some of us keep more detailed records and have broken our farms into smaller fields or blocks. Some blocks are young and have less production and thus are separated and insured for less. Older blocks are more productive and are outlined and insured for more. Thus the mapping process was done incorrectly.

B. The Hood River Planning Dept. is spending thousands of dollars of taxpayer money going through the Goal 8 mapping process if you include staff time, sheriff time, and additional mapping dollars that have been spent and will be spent to redo the process. Meadows paid the initial fee for the consultant, but as far as we know is not paying any additional amount for the Goal 8 mapping process. The developer in Crook County paid $100,000 to complete the Goal 8 process. Let's hope the Planning Commission of Hood River County does not use $100,000 of taxpayer dollars to complete the Goal 8 process.

C. Meadows is contesting the Crystal Springs Water District zone of contribution map to the State. Meadows claims that it is environmentally responsible and will do everything they can to protect the environment if allowed to build a destination resort. How can you be environmentally responsible if you won't even agree to protecting the watershed as outlined by the experts?

D. Mt. Hood National Forest lands should not be considered in the County zoning analysis. Too much of Mt. Hood National Forest is already used for private development. County zoning does not apply to federal lands. Showing zoning on National Forest lands would be used later as a rationale to exchange federal lands to a private developer.

E. The ordinance does not protect farm and forest lands. The ordinance and mapping needs to be strengthened to conserve and enhance existing and future orchards, forestlands, other farms and protecting resource based economy.

F. The map showing eligible areas for the proposed zone contains major errors that need correction, particularly with delineation of farms. This is critical, as the map currently drawn does not protect significant farmland.

G. The ordinance needs revision to protect domestic watersheds and irrigation watersheds such as the Crystal Springs Water District, and East Fork Irrigation District.

H. Destination resorts must be compatible with adjacent land uses, especially farm and forestlands. The ordinance does not now provide for this.

I. Historic resource settings, such as the Tilly Jane and Cloud Cap Historic District must be protected.

J. Lands on adjacent tracts must not be used for facilities connected to or supporting the destination resort. That violates the Oregon planning statutes and would promote sprawl on lands not intended for destination resorts, as farm or forest areas.

K. Economic costs to the County, State agencies and farming and forestry operations must be analyzed, disclosed and covered by the destination resort developers. Currently the ordinance only provides for analyzing the economic impacts with no requirement to cover the costs.

L. Mount Hood is a volcano! Prudence and comprehensive, responsible planning would probably put a Volcano Safety Perimeter around the peak. What should such a perimeter radius be? Timberline Lodge would probably not be built today where it presently is.

M. Wildlife Migration Corridors must be protected.

N. Wilderness Area Protection Buffer. Wildness is an ever-shrinking quality on this planet. What we have left should be adequately protected, while we work to restore more wildness in the state.



updated: 02/10/2005

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