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Deschutes County commissioners take up disputed Redmond-area zone change request

Eden Central Properties seeks to build rural neighborhood called 360 Peaks

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A zoning dispute near Redmond is pitting farmers against developers.

Since a county hearings officer took testimony in April, Deschutes County has heard from more than 100 people for and against a proposed change in zoning for land sitting above NW Coyner Road.

On Wednesday county commissioners heard from even more in written and oral testimony at the second of two required public hearings.

The land is owned by Eden Central Properties. The company wants to build 71 houses on the 710 acres, with each property being 10 acres.

"It's called Peaks 360, and we have a vision for creating a sustainable neighborhood with solar power, " explained Eden Central spokesman Mark Stockamp.

Those living in the surrounding area are concerned about access to water and increased traffic, especially during an emergency.

"I've been on my property for eight years," rancher Billy Buchanan said. "I know people need places to live, but how could you live on 10 acres and not find a way to grow a food source?"

For development to move forward, county commissioners would have to approve the request to rezone the land from agriculture (exclusive farm use) to rural residential.

Eden Central Properties points to several studies of water, wildlife and soil.

"A soil specialist spent 10 days in the area and determined 71 per cent of the land was not suitable for growing anything," Stockamp said.

Three state agencies signed a letter in opposition to the rezoning. Their concern centered in part on the definition of what should be considered agricultural land.

As for when a decision will be made the commission had a few options at the end of Wednesday's hearing, which continued into the evening hours, including requesting more input or setting a timetable for deliberating a decision.

The county hearings officer who reviewed the proposal and comments in the spring recommended that commissioners approving the Eden Central Properties zone-change request.

Buchanan said, "It just seems to be a trend for developing areas where there are limited resources." But he said no matter what the decision is, it appears he will stay put.

As is usually the case, commissioners ended the hearing Wednesday evening by setting a timetable for further comments on the record. New evidence or testimony is being accepted through August 24, followed by a week-long open rebuttal period, and then a Sept. 7 deadline for the applicant's final arguments.

The board will deliberate on the application on Sept. 28, Associate Planner Haleigh King said.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Cathy Marshall

Cathy Marshall is the news director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Cathyhere.


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