Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Oregon Supreme Court
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In Friends of Columbia Gorge v. Energy Fac. Siting Coun., 365 Or 371, 446 P3d 53 (2019), the Oregon Supreme Court held that the Energy Facility Siting Council had failed to substantially comply with a procedural requirement when it amended rules governing how it processes requests for amendment (RFAs) to site certificates that the council issued. The Court therefore held that the rules were invalid. In response to that decision, the council adopted temporary rules governing the RFA process. Petitioners contended that those temporary rules were also invalid. According to petitioners, the rules were invalid because the council failed to prepare a statement of its findings justifying the use of temporary rules. Petitioners also maintained that the council’s rules exceed the 180-day limit on temporary rules or otherwise improperly operated retroactively. After review, the Supreme Court disagreed with petitioners’ arguments and concluded the temporary rules were valid. View "Friends of Columbia Gorge v. Energy Fac. Siting Coun." on Justia Law

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The Oregon State Land Board voted to sell a parcel of the Elliott State Forest, part of the common school lands granted to the state. The circuit court dismissed the petition for judicial review of the order of sale brought by Cascadia Wildlands and three other petitioners, based on their lack of standing. The Court of Appeals concluded that there was standing and decided the issue of whether ORS 530.450, which prohibited the State Land Board from selling a part of the school and university lands (including the parcel of the Elliott State Forest that was subject to sale) unconstitutionally restricted the power of the State Land Board to carry out its constitutional duty and, thus, has been void since enactment. The Oregon Supreme Court concurred with the Court of Appeals finding the constitutionality of ORS 530.450, and reversing and remanding the judgment of the circuit court. View "Cascadia Wildlands v. Dept. of State Lands" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sought a declaration that the City of Lake Oswego had allow them recreational access to Oswego Lake, either from the shoreline of the city’s waterfront parks (from which the city prohibits all water access) or through the city’s residents-only swim park. According to plaintiffs, the common-law doctrines of public trust and public use protected the public’s right to enter the lake, and the city’s restrictions on access to the lake were contrary to those common-law doctrines. Plaintiffs also contended the city’s restrictions violated the Equal Privileges and Immunities guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. Defendants were the City of Lake Oswego the State of Oregon, and the Lake Oswego Corporation (which held title to riparian rights to the lake). The case reached the Oregon Supreme Court following a summary judgment in which the trial court assumed that the lake was among public waterways to which the doctrine of public trust or public use applied, but held that neither those doctrines nor Article I, section 20, entitled plaintiffs to the declarations they sought. The Court of Appeals affirmed, also without deciding whether the lake was a public waterway. The Supreme Court concluded the trial court correctly granted summary judgment on plaintiffs’ Article I, section 20, challenges. The Court also concluded that neither the public trust nor the public use doctrine granted plaintiffs a right to enter the swim park property and that the public use doctrine did not grant plaintiffs a right to access the water from the waterfront parks. But the Court concluded that, if Oswego Lake was among the navigable waterways that the state held in trust for the public, then neither the state nor the city could unreasonably interfere with the public’s right to enter the water from the abutting waterfront parks. Accordingly, the case was remanded for resolution of the preliminary question of whether the lake was subject to the public trust doctrine and, if the lake was subject to that trust, then for resolution of the factual dispute regarding whether the city’s restriction on entering the lake from the waterfront parks unreasonably interfered with the public’s right to enter the lake from the abutting waterfront parks. View "Kramer v. City of Lake Oswego" on Justia Law

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The Energy Facility Siting Council modified its rules that govern amending site certificates. Petitioners challenged the validity of the new rules, arguing that the council failed to comply with required rulemaking procedures and that the rules exceeded the council’s statutory authority. FAfter review of petitioners' challenges, the Oregon Supreme Court agreed with some, but not all, of those grounds and concluded that the rules were invalid. View "Friends of Columbia Gorge v. Energy Fac. Siting Coun." on Justia Law

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Kay King owned land zoned for exclusive farm use (EFU). She received county approval to replace three dwellings on the property that had been demolished in 1997. The issue this case presented for the Oregon Supreme Court's review was whether Oregon Laws 2013, chapter 462, section 2 authorized the construction of replacements for the three dwellings. After the county approved the construction permits, LandWatch Lane County (LandWatch) appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), which reversed the county’s approval, holding that the statute did not permit construction of the replacement buildings. King petitioned for judicial review of the LUBA decision, and the Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reverse, reinstating LUBA's decision: because landowner’s replacement dwelling applications were filed more than five years after the dwellings on her property were demolished, LUBA correctly ruled that she could not obtain replacement permits under paragraph (2)(b) of Oregon Laws 2013, chapter 462, section 2. View "LandWatch Lane County v. Lane County" on Justia Law

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Intervenor-respondent Riverbend Landfill Co. sought to expand its solid waste landfill in Yamhill County, Oregon on land zoned for exclusive farm use (EFU). Respondent Yamhill County determined for a second time that, with conditions of approval, the landfill expansion would not create a significant change in accepted farm practices or significantly increase the cost of those practices on surrounding agricultural lands, thereby meeting the "farm impacts test." But petitioners Stop the Dump Coalition, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and Ramsey McPhillips and petitioner-intervenor Friends of Yamhill County (collectively, petitioners) contended Riverbend’s applications failed the farm impacts test. Broadly, the parties disputed what the farm impacts test measured and whether some of the conditions that the county imposed for approval are proper under ORS 215.296(2). On review of the Oregon Supreme Court, petitioners took issue with both the latest order of the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) in Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County, 74 Or LUBA 1 (2016) (SDC II), and the decision of the Court of Appeals upholding that order in Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County, 391 P3d 932 (2017) (SDC III). Petitioners challenged some of the county’s conditions of approval, which LUBA and the Court of Appeals approved, and the Court of Appeals’ articulation of how the county must evaluate impacts of the landfill expansion on farm practices and their costs. Ultimately, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the final opinion and order of the Land Use Board of Appeals. View "Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County" on Justia Law

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In light of the fact that Mountain View Paving has ceased the activities that were identified by Rogue Advocates as the bases for its complaint, the remaining question before the Oregon Supreme Court in this matter was whether the appeal was moot. In their complaint, Rogue Advocates contested Mountain View Paving’s operation of an asphalt batch plant. Mountain View Paving was no longer operating that asphalt batch plant, stated that it has no intention to do so in the future, and did not contend that it had a legal right to do so. Thus, a decision in this case will not have a practical effect on the parties, and this case was now moot. View "Rogue Advocates v. Board of Comm. of Jackson County" on Justia Law

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The City of Eugene sued to collect from Comcast of Oregon II, Inc. (Comcast) a license fee that the city, acting under a municipal ordinance, imposes on companies providing “telecommunications services” over the city’s rights of way. Comcast did not dispute that it used the city’s rights of way to operate a cable system. However it objected to the city’s collection effort and argued that the license fee was either a tax barred by the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), or a franchise fee barred by the Cable Communications and Policy Act of 1984 (Cable Act). The city read those federal laws more narrowly and disputed Comcast’s interpretation. The trial court rejected Comcast’s arguments and granted summary judgment in favor of the city. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Eugene v. Comcast of Oregon II, Inc." on Justia Law

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As part of a highway improvement project, plaintiff Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT or the state), brought a condemnation action against defendant Alderwoods (Oregon), Inc., seeking to acquire "[a]ll abutter’s rights of access, if any," between defendant’s property and Highway 99W. The improvement project involved rebuilding the sidewalk along Highway 99W and eliminating two driveways that previously had allowed direct vehicular access from defendant’s property to the highway. Defendant’s property retained access to the highway, however, by means of two driveways onto a city street that ran perpendicular to and intersected the highway. Before trial, the state moved in limine to exclude as irrelevant evidence of any diminution in value of defendant’s property as a result of the loss of the two driveways. The trial court concluded that the elimination of those driveways had not effected a taking of defendant’s right of access to the highway and granted the state’s motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court that there was no taking in this case, and affirmed. View "ODOT v. Alderwoods" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the lawfulness of a portion of the City of Portland's Willamette River Greenway Plan that regulates uses of industrial and other urban land along a portion of the Willamette River known as the "North Reach." Specifically, the issue was whether the City of Portland (city) had authority to regulate development within the North Reach. Petitioners represented various industrial interests within the affected area of the city's plan. They contended that the law permitted the city to regulate only "intensification" or "changes" to existing uses and otherwise does not permit the regulation of existing industrial or other urban uses or other changes to such uses within the North Reach. The Land Use Board of Appeals rejected that argument, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Upon review, the Supreme Court likewise rejected petitioners' argument and affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. View "Gunderson, LLC v. City of Portland" on Justia Law