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Foes of controversial SE Bend gas station vow appeal of city hearings officer’s approval

KTVZ file

(Update: Gas station opponents say they will file appeal of approval)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – After more than a year of organized opposition and a packed public hearing, a city hearings officer on Wednesday approved a controversial gas station as part of a retail project at the corner of Brosterhous and Murphy roads in southeast Bend.

But the fight is not over and may bring yet another crowd to City Hall -- this time, for a Bend City Council hearing, should they decide to take the matter up, as opponents seek.

But depending in part on a staff recommendation, councilors could decide to let the hearings officer's decision stand as the city's final one, if it's not deemed to raise citywide policy issues. Then, the opponents could take the matter to the state Land Use Board of Appeals (and there's also the potential for future legal action.)

But the opponents argue that the project does meet that city-wide policy test. Here's their full statement, issued Thursday:

"SE Bend Neighbors for Responsible Development will be submitting a discretionary appeal to City Council to voice our opposition to the proposed gas station and drive-thru restaurant at Brosterhous and Murphy Road, which have significant public policy and community-wide implications.

"We are hopeful the newly-seated city council will hear our appeal as we are requesting they honor their stated goals of both decreasing traffic and automobile emissions, and prioritizing the Bend Transportation Plan and the Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP).

"Southeast Bend neighbors support commercial development at Brosterhous and Murphy Road, but overwhelmingly oppose the proposed gas station and drive thru restaurant. In our online poll, 85%+ of neighbors are united in opposition and do not want a gas station on this lot.

"Southeast Bend neighbors expect more from our city leaders—we expect our city leaders to support the members of their community who voted for them based on the ideals they advocated for and who have been fighting big petroleum development. This is something the city council can do for their community—they can support responsible development in southeast Bend. A GoFundMe ( campaign is set up to support the costs of our appeal."

Residents focused most of their scorn on the need for another gas station in the area and its environmental, traffic and safety impacts.

The 70-plus opposing neighbors said they raised nearly $10,000 to hire a land-use attorney and traffic engineer to fight the conditional use permit applicants.

In his 76-page ruling, city Hearings Officer Gregory Frank laid out 22 conditions developers must meet for the market/convenience store, gas station and drive-thru restaurant, such as a stormwater management plan, shielded lights so as not to shine or cast glare onto nearby property and a boundary buffer to keep headlights from shining into adjacent homes.

But Frank stated, for example, that “there is no ‘need’ demonstration required by relevant conditional use approval criteria,” and later said he “finds no persuasive substantial evidence in the record to support (the) argument that the proposed Brosterhous access will significantly increase, in a measurable way, safety to risks to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.”

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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Barney Lerten

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