BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has rejected all claims by the foes of a planned southeast Bend gas station, thus letting the city’s approval of the project stand. But organizers of the 2-year fight already are planning to raise funds to take their case to the next level: the Oregon Court of Appeals.
The group of neighbors has been fighting the gas station’s inclusion in GP Energy/Colvin Oil’s planned retail (convenience commercial) development at the roundabout at Brosterhous and Murphy roads, citing environmental and traffic concerns and also arguing its not needed, with several gas stations not that far away.
A city hearings officer approved the project earlier this year, so the opponents took their case to the Bend City Council, which voted 5-2 not to hear the neighbors’ appeal. City staff had noted that any council decision likely would have been appealed to LUBA anyway.
The state appeals board issued a 44-page ruling last Thursday that rejected the arguments raised by opponents on a variety of legal, technical and procedural grounds.
One example: “We agree with intervenor (Colvin Oil) that the hearings officer made extensive findings addressing the air quality impacts of the gas station and the evidence in the record, and petitioners fail to address the findings or explain why they are inadequate.”
LUBA does not approve or reject land-use proposals, but instead decides based on the submitted evidence whether to remand – return – the issue to local counties, to address any deficiencies in another decision. In this case, they let the city’s decision stand.
Susie Gaylord, one of the petitioners and a leader of the opponents, told NewsChannel 21 on Monday, “The denial is definitely a blow to over 2,000 people who reside in the neighborhood of this potential unwanted gas station. But we will take it to the Court of Appeals and begin fundraising to do so.”
Gaylord also said a neighbor has been talking to a nearby Arco gas station at Third Street and Murphy Road, which according to the group is willing to offer incentives to buy their gas there, instead – perhaps a membership card for free or discount items, like a car wash with so many fill-ups. The “No Gas Station” group (SE Bend Neighbors for Responsible Development) is polling its members online to gauge interest.
Gaylord also shared a letter she sent in June to Michael Andretti, son of the Indy race car driver, as the Andretti Group is the holding company of GP Energy and Colvin Oil, with 34 pages of 2,000 signatures.
“While we are very welcoming of development, and wish to see profitable businesses here, it is not appropriate to have a gas station in this plot of land that is not conveniently accessed by other parts of the city and sits surrounded by family homes and across the street from an elementary school,” Gaylord wrote. She said she received no response from Andretti to her letter.
“We are still fighting and will continue to do so,” Gaylord said. “People are angry, and that’s a good thing!”