Message - Re: land use enforcement
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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on September 18, 2000 at 10:52:27:

Dear Esther,

Thank you for calling the City of Eugene this morning about the Masada Corp. bulldozing of mapped and protected open waterways that started Friday evening on Owl Road. It is urgent for the City to know about what is happening up here!

In the mind of the community, the streams in the Amazon Headwaters (and all across town) have been protected since May, and no unpermitted filling of streams is allowed whatsoever under the City code (Eugene City Code 6.650, etc.). But some developers seem to feel they can get away with simply ignoring those protections, using the time honored fill-now, apologize-later, outlaw-as-usual approach to business.

Without casting aspersions on any sincere and hard-working City staff, my feeling is as a matter of community necessity it is time to seek more effective enforcement of the land use code and related provisions, including Open Waterways. With two independent un-permitted earthmoving and active Open Waterways violations over the weekend, just on Owl Road itself, something more is clearly needed!

In my mind, at least three areas of improvement are called for, including 1) an urgent issues response system for active violations outside of City working hours, 2) significant punishment for any licensed contractors who proceed with construction, logging, etc. without permits, and 3) strict interpretations of the code itself, so that the law is given approriate standing above and beyond business-as-usual.

I think your letter sounds good, and collecting more local signatures can't hurt either. When it is ready, my guess is the Southeast Neighbors will endorse it, too.

Best wishes,

Kevin Matthews
President, Southeast Neighbors


PS: As I've read the City code, previous permit violations can be a valid basis for denying subsequent permit requests. Maybe that enforcement power needs to be brought to bear on Masada.

On 9/18/00 at 8:41 AM, Esther Jacobson wrote:

] Good morning, Kevin:
] Thanks for the copy of your letter to Molly Ritter.
] This morning I spoke to a real person...Keli Osborn, in the Permit Review
] section. She agreed that the issues you laid out re. the Masada tract were
] strange and was going to alert the Soil Erosion and Urban Forester folks to
] go out and check today. (I indicated that the logging on the land, without
] permit, seemed irregular according to city regulations...). I'll call her
] tomorrow a.m. to find out what has transpired.
] My understanding is that the fines for illegal action in this case are
] relatively small and are simply 'absorbed' by the developer as part of his
] costs. If that is the case, shouldn't the city be upping those fines? and
] shouldn't there be some hotline, somewhere, for reporting these weekend
] activities? I've written a draft letter re. this issue for City Council
] people. If my facts prove straight, do you think it would be useful
] sending such a letter? If so, I'd be glad to make it a road letter...I
] think a number of others would definitely sign.
] -Esther

Citizens Nature Project! http://www.NatureProject.org/nature.html
Neighbors Forum! http://www.SoutheastNeighbors.org/sen_forum.html
Kevin Matthews, matthews@artifice.com
541-345-7421 vox, 541-345-7438 fax, P.O. Box 1588, Eugene, OR 97440


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