(Update: Adding video, comments from Gaylord)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The city of Bend's approval of a controversial southeast Bend gas station has been appealed by opposing neighbors to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, but they also are trying other avenues to stop the pumps from going in.
For close to two years, a 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 it’s not needed, with several existing gas stations not far away.
Earlier this year, after a city hearings officer approved the project, the foes took their case to the Bend City Council. They voted 5-2 not to hear the neighbors' appeal, as city staff noted any council decision likely would be appealed to LUBA anyway. They also pointed to the time crunch from a state-set 120-day deadline for any final local land-use decisions (or the proposing developer could have taken the city to court).
In their 33-page LUBA petition (Word .doc linked below), four area residents appealed the city decision – which, if the foes prevail, would not stop the project, only remand (return) it back to the city for another decision process, to fix whatever issues the the state appeals board outlines.
The petitioners list three “assignments of error.” First, they question whether the term “appropriate” is a site-specific criterion for conditional uses and say the city approved the permits without addressing the issue.
They also claim the “convenience commercial” zone is limited to small and medium-sized businesses that “provide for the frequent shopping and service needs of nearby residents.” While gas stations (and restaurant drive-thrus also part of the plans) are allowed as conditional uses, the foes claim the city erred “by finding that ‘need’ is not an approval criterion or standard” for such uses in CC zones.
Their third assignment of error claims that “Colvin failed to provide substantial evidence to prove that the negative impacts of the gas station and drive-thru on adjacent properties in terms of safety, noise, vibrations, exhaust-emissions and odor could be mitigated, or that any conditions of approval could sufficiently minimize these impacts to ensure that these uses could be compatible with surrounding uses and public facilities.”
Susi Gaylord, one of the petitioners and a leader of the opposition, told NewsChannel 21, "We've got a few other things going to try to work with the Andretti Group. Hopefully, they listen."
She noted the Andretti Group is run by Michael Andretti -- Indy race car driver Mario's son -- and is the holding company of GP Energy and Colvin Oil.
"We will be appealing directly to Michael Andretti (and the values his name stands for) to respect the over 2,000 residents who do not want a gas station in their neighborhood," Gaylord said
"We are also talking with officials at the state level about our concerns," she added, "and how our issue also affects the state."
Gaylord explained Sunday, "We would love to work with the Andretti Group, in terms of finding something that we're all happy with."
But she added, "I'm not sure that there's really a compromise (possible), in terms of the gas station. We would love to have electric charging (stations instead), because we think that's where the future of Bend is. Oregon is a very environmentally friendly state, and we would like to uphold those values in our neighborhood."