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Cemetery owner files land use dispute.

Byline: REAL ESTATE By Jack Moran The Register-Guard

Tim Wiper's attorneys say their client could develop his Willamette Street property in a number of ways, if not for land use regulations imposed by the city of Eugene.

A long list of possible uses for the 76-acre parcel that includes Rest-Haven Memorial Park is noted in a $3.27 million Measure 37 claim Wiper filed this month with city officials.

If local land use rules were waived, Wiper could "use the subject property for cemetery and cemetery-related uses ... residential uses, including but not limited to single-family residential, multifamily residential, townhomes, row houses, assisted-living residential facilities and controlled income and rent housing, and various commercial uses such as but not limited to supermarkets, post offices, office buildings, retail, banking and restaurant uses," attorneys state in the claim.

The "highest and best use" of Wiper's property would be as a residential subdivision, according to an appraisal completed in November by Eugene firm Charles P. Thompson and Associates.

Appraisers determined the land's value in its current state to be $562,000.

But, if all restrictions were lifted, the property's fair market value would total more than $3.83 million, according to the appraisal.

Under voter-approved Measure 37, property owners whose land has been devalued by land use regulations can seek to have those laws waived, or be financially compensated by the government.

The appraisal states that Wiper's land has the potential to be a "highly desirable" area for homes that would most likely sell in the "mid to upper end of the range in the market."

About 20 acres of the Wiper property are developed for cemetery purposes. The remaining acreage is vacant.

Wiper, whose family has owned the land since 1929, has been interested for several years in building homes on land adjacent to the cemetery.

City planning officials in 2004 approved Wiper's request to modify a conditional use permit issued in 1998 that spells out long-term development of the section of his property designated for cemetery use.

Wiper had asked the city to remove 15 acres from the area governed by the permit, which could have allowed residential development to proceed there.

A group of neighbors appealed the city decision, and a hearings official ruled that the permit should not be modified because the change requested by Wiper would fail to guarantee a 75-foot buffer between his land and surrounding properties.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 26, 2006
Words:399
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