Crag Law Center secured a victory today, on behalf of Rogue Advocates and local residents in Talent, Oregon, to uphold the rights of the public to participate in the local land use decision making process. Today’s decision from the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) is the second in a series of challenges to an asphalt plant that has been operating in violation of local land use code since at least 2001. In April, LUBA rejected Jackson County’s decision to allow the asphalt plant to continue operating as a lawful nonconforming use (one that pre-dated land use laws and therefore can continue to operate). While that appeal was pending, the county continued to issue permits related to the asphalt plant, authorizing its location and operation inside the floodplain of Bear Creek.
In this appeal, Crag represented Rogue Advocates and local landowner Christine Hudson in challenging Jackson County’s decision to approve the floodplain permit for the asphalt plant. LUBA today held that not only did Jackson County exceed its authority in issuing a floodplain development permit for an asphalt batch plant that has not been confirmed as a legal use, but the county also violated the substantive rights of neighbors when it refused to let them participate in the decision making process. The operators of the asphalt plant are currently seeking approval from the county that the plant is a lawful use of the property. Crag continues to represent Rogue Advocates and local community members, and will work to ensure that zoning laws are upheld.