Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
MT. HOOD Guest House owner Libby Rossknecht, looking out the west window of her sunroom, is concerned about impacts from the proposed Meadows lot, which would be located in the background, just to the north.
It was originally a project that was approved without notification of the general public, but now the proposal for the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort park and ride slated for the community of Mount Hood is open for public comment.
Hood River County Planning Department placed a legal notice in the Aug. 16 edition of the Hood River News informing readers of the opportunity to offer public comment on a proposal from Mt. Hood Meadows to create a 179-space park and ride on Corner Loop Road near the intersection of Highway 35 and Cooper Spur Road.
The planning department originally approved an application for a commercial land use permit on June 23 by way of a ministerial action, which did not require the notification of the general public.
Adjacent property owners also weren’t notified of the decision, which irked Libby Rossknecht, who owns the Mt. Hood Guest House located directly in front of where the park and ride is proposed. Rossknecht filed a notice of intent to appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), stating that the county should have provided notice to property owners within 250 feet of the project site.
County planning stated that a discrepancy in the zoning ordinance had caused the difference of opinion and informed Meadows of the situation. The resort then requested the county rescind its approval and re-process the application for the park and ride as an administrative action, which requires public notice.
Those wishing to comment on the proposal have until Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. to do so. The county plans to make a decision on the application on or around Tuesday, Sept. 16. The planning department can be contacted at 541-387-6840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another way to comment on the project is to attend a meeting to be held between the ski resort and interested parties at the site of the proposed park and ride on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.
Bob Danko, a retiree who can often be found volunteering his time at the Mount Hood Town Hall, requested Meadows hold an informal walk around at the site to better explain the project, which has created a buzz in the community.
“A couple people said, ‘Wow, that’s really going to impact this little area’,” he said of people’s initial reaction to the park and ride.
Danko said his general message to Meadows, “We’re not necessarily opposed to what you’re doing, but we’d like to understand what you’re doing.”
The Mount Hood Town Hall has allowed Meadows to use its parking lot as a park and ride for employees the past few winters, according to Danko, but space has become less available as the building has been spruced up and seen increasingly more use in recent years.
Danko noted it could be advantageous for Mount Hood Town Hall for Meadows to find a solution to the ski resort’s parking needs.
Rossknecht has also created an online petition for those who are “strongly opposed” to the project, offering another medium for public comment. The petition states the park and ride will adversely affect the community of Mount Hood by causing increased winter traffic, a “high concentration” of exhaust fumes from cars and idling busses, increased noise, and other issues.
Rossknecht says she plans to eventually take the petition to the county as well as Meadows to give them an idea of the number of people who are opposed to the park and ride. When asked what her goal was for the number of signatures she wanted to gather, Rossknecht replied, “As many as we can get.”
The petition was posted Monday morning and had gathered 10 signatures as of Tuesday morning at 8:30. The petition can be found on Rossknecht’s Facebook page regarding the park and ride at www.facebook.com/