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County eases land use restrictions.

Byline: Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

A third property owner on Wednesday used a new state measure to seek relief from land use restrictions in rural Lane County. And for the third time, Lane County commissioners consented.

Commissioners voted 4-1, with Commissioner Pete Sorenson dissenting, to let Robert Ericsson develop two vacant 10-acre lots near Pleasant Hill. Development would be allowed as permitted before stricter land use regulations took effect in the mid 1970s.

Ericsson didn't submit a specific development plan, and until any plans he submits are evaluated by county staff, it won't be clear what type of development the county will allow on the land.

Ericsson sought the claim under Measure 37, approved by voters last November and requiring governments either to pay property owners if their land values have been diminished by regulations, or to waive enforcement of the restrictive rules.

In 1973, when Ericsson bought the two lots in the Green Bluff Estates subdivision, the property was zoned agriculture/timber/grazing. Under county rules in force at the time, each lot could have been subdivided into parcels of less than 10 acres. Subsequent restrictions under state land use laws rezoned the land to forest-2 and prohibited any homes on either parcel. In 1995, Ericsson won county approval converting the zoning designation from forest-2 to marginal lands - a designation for property that isn't capable of being productive forest or agriculture land. With the marginal lands designation, Ericsson could put a single house on each 10-acre parcel.

In his application to the county, Ericsson sought either $1.5 million in compensation, or a waiver of all land use regulations, thus allowing development that would have been permitted prior to the tougher restrictions.

The commissioners chose the latter, although they challenged Ericsson's assessment of the value he had lost by the land use restrictions.

Commissioner Bill Dwyer said the board's obligation was to allow what would have been "sensible" development of the property at the time Ericsson acquired it.

Sorenson, however, wasn't convinced that county land use restrictions had amounted to a loss in property value. "There wasn't any evidence to grant this," he said.

Ericsson declined to comment.

In May, the commissioners granted relief from land use restrictions to two property owners near Creswell, the first two cases to reach an elected body in the county with claims under Measure 37.
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:4EUSW
Date:Jul 14, 2005
Previous Article:CALENDAR.
Next Article:FOR THE RECORD.

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