County postpones Odell zone hearings

June 18, 2005

Hood River County has postponed a public hearing concerning proposed boundary changes around Odell.

The hearing will open as advertised at 6 p.m. on Monday in the commissioners’ meeting room, but will immediately be continued until Aug. 1.

Mike Benedict, county planning director, said the delay was necessary so that officials could process two recent property studies. An inventory of all industrial sites within the county will be completed by Bill Fashing within the next two weeks. The county has also received a report addressing affordable housing concerns from the Oregon Downtown Development Association.

“These studies could raise new issues or bring out needs that we need to address further,” said Benedict.

The August hearing will address Goal 14 of state land-use rules. That regulation requires the county to differentiate between urban and rural uses in unincorporated communities. Last year several hearings over zoning changes in Odell drew mixed debate from residents. Benedict had proposed that 154 acres of farm land be rezoned for industrial or residential use. He said these 28 parcels sat in the midst of other development and weren’t viable for agricultural production.

Benedict was concerned that it would be an arduous process to amend the new boundaries once they were in place, so consideration needed to be given to the future growth needs of the community.

Most of the opposition to that plan came from adjacent landowners. These citizens said the high quality of life found in the small community was tied to its farming heritage and rustic setting. Of particular concern to opponents was Benedict’s proposal to allow high-density housing on two parcels along David and Wy’east drives. That suggestion was later modified by the planning commission to allow one home on every one and one-half acres.

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