Land board sides with county in Dee

Apollo intends to build an amphitheater on the former site of the Dee Mill; plans for the hotel have been suspended.

Photo courtesy of Apollo Land Holdings, LLC.
Apollo intends to build an amphitheater on the former site of the Dee Mill; plans for the hotel have been suspended.

The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) upheld Hood River County’s decision on Monday to grant Apollo Land Holdings, LLC, an extension on their permit to establish an amphitheater on their property at the former Dee Mill site.

“When the amphitheater was originally approved, it included numerous conditions, including some that needed to be completed prior to commencing construction and others prior to holding commercial events,” said Eric Walker, principal planner and interim director of Community Development.

“Many of the conditions were fairly onerous and required additional studies and approvals from various state and local agencies that resulted in the need for additional time. LUBA’s decision will allow Apollo more time to complete these permit requirements,” he said.

Apollo Land Holdings could not be reached for comment before press time.

The Hood River Valley Residents Committee — who recently changed their name to “Thrive Hood River” — appealed the county’s decision to approve Apollo’s application for a one-year extension of their building permit for the amphitheater because, they claimed, a June 2017 LUBA ruling against the controversial DeeTour Hotel proposal changed the approval criteria for Apollo’s permit.

They had initially appealed to both the planning and county commissions, who both approved the permit.

“LUBA’s decision in this case was specific to the original amphitheater permit and has no effect on Apollo’s subsequent hotel application, which ended up being withdrawn after LUBA remanded the county’s approval during the summer of 2017,” said Walker.

Apollo added the proposal for the 50-room hotel in 2016 — two years after the amphitheater permit was approved. The planning commission denied the application for the hotel, but after Apollo appealed to the county commission, the county overturned the planning commission’s decision and approved construction of the hotel.

However, LUBA remanded that decision after the Residents Committee appealed it in June 2017, on the grounds that the Dee Mill site is zoned for a rural, industrial use. The developer would need to prove the hotel is an “exception” before the project could be approved.

Unless Thrive Hood River appeals the most recent LUBA decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals by Dec. 24, the decision becomes final, Walker said.

Thrive Hood River could not be reached for comment before press time.

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