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Land management officials expedite permit processing.

Byline: COUNTY BEAT By Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard

A bit of good news for people who need to apply for land use permits to do projects they want: It probably won't take nearly as long to get an answer as it has in the past.

Jeff Towery, manager of the county's Land Management Division, says the average number of days it takes to process planning and zoning applications has dropped dramatically this year. Requests that can be determined by the planning director now get completed within 16 days, on average, while those that require sending out notices to adjacent property owners take less than a month.

This contrasts with a high last spring of two months for administrative decisions and as much as four months for applications requiring public notice.

Towery credits the change to a shift in work responsibilities within the Land Management Department. After a senior level planner retired, the department replaced the position with two lower-level positions. That means that the people who need to spend their time processing applications can do that instead of waiting on "customers" at the public information counter, Towery said.

Meetings coming

to the Internet

Until now, residents of Lane County who wanted to keep tabs on the county commissioners' meetings either had to drive into downtown Eugene for a personal appearance or watch the proceedings on Metro Television's cable Channel 21.

But not much longer. County officials say that sometime soon after the first of the year, the meetings will be available to the public via the Internet. The link to the meetings will be through the county's Web site at www.lanecounty.org.

"I think it's a wonderful step, because people will be able to see it all from their homes or offices even if they can't attend the meeting ," county spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said. "I've been asking for this service for a long time. I think it will help people be more involved with county government."

Lease negotiations

finished for armory site

The county and the Oregon Military Department have signed an agreement that will allow the county to complete the purchase of the current National Guard Armory site on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and lease it back to the Army for $1 per year until a new armory has been completed off Marcola Road near 42nd Street in Springfield.

Originally, the military planned to build the new armory on 35 acres of land north of 30th Avenue near Lane Community College, but environmental problems and opposition by neighbors in the Russel Creek area nixed that idea.

The Army then turned its attention to the 22.5-acre parcel on Marcola Road, sealing that deal earlier this year. But in order to free up money to get the project under way, the military needed the county to complete its purchase of the old site and then set up the lease.

A couple of things hung up the lease negotiations, including that the county already runs several residential substance-abuse treatment programs for youths on the existing armory property. With the county's purchase of the land, that meant it didn't want any alcohol use allowed in the parking areas of the armory site, a condition the Guard initially resisted because tailgaters had rented spaces in the parking lot for University of Oregon football games at Autzen Stadium, just across the street.

The National Guard also agreed as a condition of the lease that when it eventually vacates the old armory property for its new location, it will foot the bill for any environmental cleanup that may be required.

Randi Bjornstad can be reached at 338-2321 or rbjornstad@guardnet.com.
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 19, 2003
Words:608
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