On Monday Crag filed appeals on behalf of Rogue Advocates challenging Jackson County’s March 25th approval of Mountain View Paving’s application for non-conforming use and floodplain development permits.

Mountain View Paving has been operating an industrial facility on land zoned Rural Residential and within the Talent urban growth boundary without any land use permits for over twelve years.  The operation is located in the Bear Creek floodplain adjacent to Talent city limits and over 150 senior residences are directly impacted by toxic fumes, dust and noise.

The company sought a non-conforming use verification — seeking to establish that its asphalt plant operations had been in use on the property since before Jackson County had any land use codes that would prohibit it.  Now, the property is zoned for residential use, and the asphalt plant would not be permitted.  Non-conforming uses are disfavored in Oregon because they undermine our state goals and statutes for comprehensive land use planning.

Rogue Advocates Executive Director Melissa Matthewson explained, “The land use laws that regulate this industry are in place for a reason. They safeguard public health and safety and minimize costly conflicts for everyone’s benefit, including business interests. This issue has been simmering for a long time and the county’s unwillingness to enforce land use safeguards for so long is allowing this problem to boil over. The county should have upheld the regulations a long time ago and it should certainly do it now. The purpose of our appeal is to see that the County enforces their own rules.”

Rather than enforce code provisions, the County has ignored the industrial use on residential zoned property.  The County has now issued a preliminary decision to grandfather the asphalt plant use forever, and has chosen not to look back more than ten years as enough verifiable proof of continuous use to make this decision.

Rogue Advocates Board President Steve Rouse commented that, “the County is setting a very low bar—if folks can slide under the radar for ten years, they may be allowed to avoid zoning safeguards in the future. Rogue Advocates prefers to work collaboratively with the County to implement land use policy but in this case the precedence of their decision is unacceptable.”

Crag and Rogue Advocates have been working closely with their Talent members and the retirement community located adjacent to Mountain View Paving to empower them in the land use process. The City of Talent also appealed the decision.