Commissioners OK Crawfordsville property proposal

By Alex Paul
For Lebanon Local/New Era

After more than an hour of deliberation Tuesday morning, Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker approved an application for a Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map amendment that may lead to the development of 10 homesites on 108 acres on Crawfordsville Drive, southwest of Sweet Home.

The Public Hearing was a continuation of a hearing held on August 29, which was a remand of issues from the Land Use Board of Appeals.

At issue was how many homesites can be established on the property which includes a large wildlife habitat overlay and is non-resource land, which means it is not suitable for crop production. The property is also home to a pigeon reserve overlay.

This case began four years ago. Neighbors have opposed plans by owners Ron and Virginia Henthorne in partnership with Lynn Merrill of Acreage Land Solutions, primarily because they do not believe a housing development should be created on this type of rural property, which is near the unincorporated community of Crawfordsville.

Neighbors are also concerned about potential wildfire issues and pollution of the nearby Calapooia River.

The property owners had planned to create up to 15 building sites, but at the August meeting, Merrill said they would be willing to hold development to 10 sites in the habitat area, plus other sites in the non-habitat area.

Tuesday, the commissioners spent a considerable amount of time talking about whether the total number of homesites should be located in the large wildlife habitat area. The Board approved the Plan map and Zoning map amendment with a condition that the property can be developed with 10 total dwellings, which could potentially be located both in and out of the habitat area.

Planning & Building Department Planning Manager Alyssa Boles said Tuesday’s decision can be appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals.

In other business, the commissioners:

♦ Approved a contract with Gresham Ford for the purchase of three Ford F-350 pickups for the Sheriff’s Office for about $170,000 total. Gresham Ford has a state bid contract. The commissioners asked that the Sheriff’s Office check on whether local truck dealers can offer the same purchasing service in the future.

♦ Approved a request by Selmet for an Enterprise Zone exemption. The company plans to invest $20 million to install new equipment that will increase production capacity. The company also plans to add 65 employees and pay wages and benefits that exceed 150% of Linn County’s average annual wage scale. In return, Selmet will get property tax exemptions on the new equipment for up to five years.

♦ Were informed by Planning & Building Director Steve Wills that there were 69 total land use permits issued in August and 326 total building permits, including non-structural permits. Of 33 housing permits, nine were for single-family dwellings and two manufactured dwellings. There were 17 permits for additions/alterations.

♦ Were told the Greater Albany Public Schools has approved increasing the Construction Excise Tax for residential structures from $1.26 to $1.56 per square foot and from 63 cents to 78 cents per square foot for nonresidential structures. Linn County’s Assessment and Taxation Office collects those taxes and distributes them to GAPS.

♦ Approved an easement at no cost with Lim Properties LLC on Old Salem Road for road purposes and accepted the dedication of Laurel Street near Lebanon as a county road. The road has been used for decades, but was never officially platted as such.

♦ Accepted a grant for $157,597 from the Youth Development Oregon. These funds are passed through to the Linn Benton Lincoln Education Services District to fund the Family Support Program.

♦ Adjusted the Veterans Services office budget by $57,397 to reflect the actual funds the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs will provide over the next two years.