Board Rejects Oregon RV Park Plan

May 12, 2009 by   - () Comments Off on Board Rejects Oregon RV Park Plan

In what opponents describe as a major victory, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) has overturned a county’s decision to allow a 153-unit RV park just north of Bandon, Ore. 

On April 30, LUBA reversed a decision by the Coos County Board of Commissioners to allow the RV park on a former mill site east of Bullards Bridge off U.S. Highway 101. The board ruled Indian Point Inc. plans to build an urban project on rural land, which violates state land use law, according to the Bandon Western World

The reversal came after the Friends of Bandon Marsh appealed the county’s decision to approve the development last year. 

To address LUBA’s concerns from a previous appeal, developer Indian Point Inc. modified the plan from 179 to 153 spaces, and the county limited the amount of time visitors could stay in an RV space to 45 days in any six-month period. In addition, the county prohibited ownership of the RV spaces or recreational park trailers, required the RV park to contain at least 35% open space and limited the park to an overall density of six RV spaces per acre. 

“I think it’s very significant that LUBA reversed the decision instead of remanding it,” said Bandon attorney Reid Verner, who argued the case for the opponents at the LUBA hearing. 

“It is clear evidence that commissioners Nikki Whitty and Kevin Stufflebean, along with county counsel Jacki Haggerty, showed clear preference for the developer, and ignored the numerous and obvious legal reasons why the proposed development was prohibited,” Verner added. 

LUBA determined that the development is prohibited by statewide planning Goal 14. An exception to Goal 14 would have to be granted before such a development could be allowed, according to LUBA’s Final Order and Opinion drafted April 30. 

Recreational vehicles can be there only on a temporary basis to qualify the development as an RV park, the order stipulated. But, LUBA said, the park would not qualify as recreational vehicle sites because the semi-permanent park model recreational vehicles Indian Point plans to locate there would “continuously occupy a space.” 

In addition, LUBA found that the proposed six spaces per acre is “almost certainly an urban density, particularly where the vehicle occupying the space remains in the space on an unlimited basis.” 

Addressing sewage treatment issues, LUBA said the proposed sewer and water services at the development are urban in nature and do not comply with statewide planning Goal 11, which prohibits new sewer systems in rural areas. 

The final order also stated that LUBA disagrees with the county’s conclusion that the RV park is not a planned unit development, which also is prohibited in rural areas by Goal 11. 

Indian Point could apply for an exception to certain goals. “I am very pleased with the decision,” said Dawn Vonderlin, one of the petitioners. “Clearly LUBA can see the development is urban in nature and does not fit the rural character of the area.” 

John Baxter, who also was listed in the LUBA document as a petitioner, agreed. 

“With the help of people in Bandon, local attorney Reid Verner and Oregon Shores, LUBA realized this development was too much big city and not enough country to be so close to Bandon and the very special Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge,” Baxter said. 

Indian Point’s only option to move forward is to appeal LUBA’s decision to the state Court of Appeals. A spokesman for the project was unavailable for comment.


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