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Interested in Barrett Park? Attend May 9 public meeting

Proposed activities, amenities for park will be evaluated

Hood River County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing May 9 for a conditional use permit application filed by Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District (see page A1 for more). The application is for a public park on a 31.4-acre plot of land the district has owned since 2007 at the corner of Barrett Drive and Alameda Road.

Since the property is zoned Exclusive Farm Use, certain developments and activities are explicitly prohibited. Others uses, however, are allowed by law and will be up to the approval of the county planning commission. Among the proposal, several sports-related activities/developments are listed, including about 11 acres of open play fields, biking and walking trails, a mountain bike skills area, bocce ball courts and a remote control flier area.

Among the commission’s duties is to evaluate the application based on specific land use laws and criteria. The commission, guided by staff recommendations, will be able to impose changes, conditions or removal of certain elements of the application before granting a CUP.

For the public, the meeting is a chance to voice concerns or show support for certain elements of the application; particularly for elements where the commission will have leeway in what decision to make.

“Unlike a lot of the decisions the decisions the commission makes that are very cut and dry, there is a lot of grey area in this case,” said Scott Baker, HRVPRD assistant director. “The meeting will be a great opportunity for people to take an active role in the process and support, or question, what is proposed.”

A good example is a proposed mountain bike skills area, which the staff report recommends against but states that “staff is on the fence when it comes to deciding whether this type of facility confirms to the ‘passive, low-intensity’ requirement or not.” The decision on this approximately 2-acre element of the park will likely be up to the discretion of the commission, so public input could weigh heavily on their decision.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 in the County Administration building, 601 State St. To read the staff report, visit www.hoodrivernews.com.

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