State Appeal Board remands decision based on two procedural issues and affirms the City’s determination that the project benefits the City as a whole
WEST LINN – The State of Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals released its final opinion on a case involving the City of West Linn and the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (“LOT”). In February of this year, the West Linn City Council unanimously approved conditional use permits and design review applications that authorized the expansion of the Lake Oswego water treatment plant, located within the City of West Linn, and the installation of new water lines, which serve the plant. These two decisions were appealed by 22 property owners and the group STOP, LLC. The Council’s consideration of the LOT water projects included a total of 13 different Planning Commission and City Council meetings and produced a record that is over 12,000 pages long. The final decisions passed by the Council approving the projects were 192 pages in length and included 188 distinct Findings of Fact.
The LUBA opinion agreed with the Council that there was substantial evidence that the LOT water projects met the needs of West Linn. This validates and affirms the Council’s decision that the project benefits the City as a whole. In its 36 page opinion LUBA found fault with two procedural errors in the City’s process:
- Although the Council reviewed and considered a 12 page report provided by an economist during the Council hearings, the Final Order prepared by staff and attorneys did not include a finding regarding it.
- The Mayor needed to provide some additional information about brief conversations he had with two citizens, and the Council needed to vote to allow the Mayor to continue to hear and decide on the appeals.
The LUBA opinion determined that there was no evidence of any other ex parte contact by Councilors.
The City is pleased with LUBA’s decision and will address the procedural issues at an upcoming public hearing. The minor changes to be addressed to the application required by LUBA’s decision will not impede the City’s greater access to a safe and reliable source of emergency water for our community.