Yesterday Marion County held a public hearing on the Ridge View Estates (a.k.a. Laack subdivision) application for a vested rights determination.
Meaning, LeRoy Laack hopes to show that he's done enough work on the 43-home, 217 acre project to be able to continue on with it, even though Measure 49, which was voted in last November, prohibits more than three homes on high value farmland or groundwater limited land – which this property is.
The Salem Statesman Journal had a front page story on the hearing today, "Arguments churn at vested rights land-use hearing."
Well, not just arguments. My stomach also. Fortunately, before I left home I remembered that every hearing that's been held on the Laack subdivision has been hugely long.
Most Measure 37 cases are complex. This one, unusually so. So I presciently packed: (1) a ultra healthy low-fat muffin, (2) two granola bars, and (3) a bag of almonds.
Plus, I had a wheat bagel just before the hearing started, fortifying myself at the nearby Beanery coffeehouse.
So I was pretty well prepared for a lengthy session. But after the Laack contingent had made their case, and our Crag Law Center attorney (Ralph Bloemers) had started his own presentation, the churning within my stomach had begun to equal the churning within my argument-filled mind.
Digging into my backpack, which I use as a briefcase, I managed to chomp through some of my eats without attracting too much attention to myself (sitting in the front row, I decided to pass on the granola bars, not wanting crunch, crunch to become part of the official record via the tape of the hearing).
Soon, I also dug into it to retrieve the testimony that I'd prepared on behalf of our neighborhood's Keep Our Water Safe committee and Friends of Marion County.
In my not-so-humble opinion, it's a work of vested rights determination literary art. But that could just be my ego speaking.
Figuring that those into reading these sorts of documents, all two or three of you in the blogosphere, might find some of what I wrote helpful in another legal situation, I'll share the submission: Download marion_county_claimant_laack_not_vested_blog_sharing.doc
The hearing ended with the applicants getting three weeks to submit more info. to the hearings officer; then we get three weeks to respond to their submission; then Laack, et. al. get three more weeks to respond to our submission about their submission.
This case will come to an end someday. Not soon, though. I suspect I'll be filling my backpack with more food before all this is over.