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Message - Council Postpones "Gutted LUCU"!
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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on April 09, 2002 at 01:36:56:


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Strange times were seen in the Eugene City Council Chamber tonight. But hey, I guess that's normal. This _is_ Eugene!

The good news is that the City Council voted appropriately _not_ to pass proposed LUCU remand-response Ordinance One on the spot. The hastily written 42 page ordinance, drafted in 43 sections by the city attorney and staff with private input from the Chamber of Commerce and Homebuilders Association, and available for public analysis and comment for less than a week before the back-to-back work session/public hearing/council vote, would have restored much of the city's Land Use Code Update -- but in a form shot through with significant and dangerous loopholes, temporary loopholes, but loopholes that could quickly have permanent consequences in local natural resources lost forever, and in compromises of essential public safety.

With the right follow-through, this will have been a vote that saved the Amazon Headwaters, one more time!

(That's just one example, one close to home for Southeast Neighbors. Yes, the LUCU loopholes currently in remand "Ordinance 1" are that dangerous.)

The bad news - or at least confusing news - is that this correct vote came from the "wrong" people on the council, for speculatively dubious reasons. The Chamber of Commerce and Homebuilders Association made it clear in their testimony that they hope to reopen a whole raft of LUCU issues -- even though that was clearly out of order, both in tonight's public hearing, and in the current remand process overall.

The good news, once again, is that Councilors Farr, Pape, and Rayor, joined by Mayor Torrey as tie breaker, have given us more time for public input. It is now important to try to get the critical loopholes patched and Ordinances 1, 2, and 3 combined so they can be passed ASAP in one good solid package (for details please see testimony note below).

The public record on the LUCU remand ordinances will now be held open until 5pm on April 19. Written testimony should be addressed to Jan Childs, "Jan.W.CHILDS@ci.eugene.or.us".

It is clear that the City has a solemn obligation to respond promptly and appropriately to the LUBA remand of LUCU from that lawsuit. Where a way is immediately available to directly fix LUCU provisions to be consistent with both original legislative intent and the LUBA opinion, such repairs should be made now, in strong preference to simply deleting or exempting significant code provisions.

Crafting the right City response to the LUBA remand of LUCU is complex, and technical, and it is not clear that city councilors were able to invest as much time by tonight as the 30-plus hours that David Hinkley and I each spent on it in the last week. Hopefully now we will have time for some better communication within the progressive community, to find the "both-and" positive solutions that right there waiting for us.

If we're faced with a trade-off between basic natural resource protections and better commercial development standards -- then we need to look for a third option. That's what David and I think we provided in our testimony. And now the council has some time to consider it -- if they're willing.

LUCU should be re-adopted as soon as possible - hopefully, in the next month or so - providing that as much as possible, both the LUBA legal requirements and the original legislative intent of LUCU itself should be preserved.

And please, no temporary loopholes with permanent consequences!

Gutted LUCU should not be an option.

BTW, we will be discussing this situation Tuesday evening (April 9), along with other neighborhood agenda items, at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Southeast Neighbors Board of Directors, 7-9pm in the library of the Spencer Butte Middle School. Visitors are welcome.

Onward and upward,

with best wishes,

Kevin Matthews
Southeast Neighbors
Citizens Nature Project

PS: Some detailed testimony on LUCU remand Ordinance 1 is available online at:

http://www.SoutheastNeighbors.org/notes/1355.html

And the current proposed Ordinance can be downloaded in PDF form at:

http://www.ci.eugene.or.us/zoneproj/ordi1.pdf

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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