PORTLAND, OR - June 17, 2010. Garvey Schubert Barer announces the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruled in favor of Linn County Farm Bureau in Linn County Farm Bureau et. al v. Linn County (LUBA No. 2010-006). The decision, issued on June 9, 2010, requires Linn County to go back to the drawing board if it intends to develop a 196-space RV park on a 175-acre property zoned for exclusive farm use. Garvey Schubert Barer attorneys Jennifer Bragar and William Kabeiseman, representing the Linn County Farm Bureau in conjunction with 1000 Friends of Oregon cooperating attorney program, filed the petition for review before LUBA. The case was remanded back to the county and, if the County wishes to go forward, it will have to take exception to Statewide Planning Goal 3 (Agriculture).
“LUBA’s ruling was a resounding ‘no’ to the county’s attempt to dress an RV Park up as a local park to avoid taking an exception to Goal 3’s protection of agricultural lands for farm uses. Fortunately, LUBA sided with the Linn County Farm Bureau, that while local parks are allowed on agricultural land by right, such parks are limited to low intensity uses like trails, not high intensity uses like the large scale RV Park proposed in Linn County,” said Bragar, lead attorney for the case.
Linn County had purchased property along Highway 5 and State Highway 34, in the western portion of the county with the intent of developing a county park. In 2008, the county parks and recreation department sought a conditional use permit to establish a county park that would include a 60-acre RV park, with sewer, water and electric hook-ups for each RV site, five restroom and shower buildings, a camp store, shelters and the like. The county planning commission denied the application based on traffic and compatibility concerns, which was then appealed to the Board of County Commissioners. The board approved a limited RV park and other facilities, and authorized the full build-out of septic facilities to accommodate the ultimate goal of 196 RV sites.
The appeal filed by Garvey Schubert Barer on behalf of the Linn County Farm Bureau and others questioned the county’s interpretation of the state’s local park planning rules that would allow a large scale RV park development as of right on agricultural land. LUBA agreed with the Linn County Farm Bureau’s position citing that the state’s local park planning rules allow low intensity uses, such as trails and day use facilities on agricultural land by right. However, high intensity uses, like the 196 space RV park and associated infrastructure, must go take an exception to the Statewide Planning Goal that protects agricultural land from development that is incompatible with farming.