The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, or LUBA, has upheld the city’s decision in the long-running case of the Seven-Acre Subdivision located at the end of North Maple Street, but their ruling is now headed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
City Attorney Joe Lindsay said that the Court of Appeals’ scrutiny will primarily concern LUBA and whether their decision last month was in order.
The proposal was for a 22-lot subdivision, designed in six phases by Canby Development LLC, which has been in the works since at least 2015.
It was heard and approved, unanimously, by the Planning Commission in 2017 and appealed to the City Council that same year by local attorney Michael McNichols, Tony Polito, and the Friends of NE Maple Street. Councilors heard the case in January 2018, and they also approved it, with conditions. McNichols and co. then appealed to LUBA.
One of the main bones of contention is over the proposed use of the Molalla Forest Logging Road, which is on city-owned land and exists within a conservation easement benefiting the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The city approved the subdivision’s request to use the road for emergency access purposes. But McNichols, the petitioner, and now, appellant, doesn’t believe the city had the legal authority to grant such a variance, and that this use would be out of line with the existing easement and municipal codes.
Lindsay said the decision before the Court of Appeals has been expedited and is expected sometime in late April. If the court upholds LUBA’s ruling, it is possible that the case could be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.