Land Use Planning: Goal 8 Process
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
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
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.