All in all, a pretty good day for Laurel…and Brian, and the neighborhood. On my next walk up the driveway, to get the mail around 2:00, I saw a manila envelope from the Marion County Hearings Officer—the long-awaited decision on our long-fought appeal of the attempted Nielsen lot partitioning in Spring Lake Estates. First we had won; then on a first appeal by the Nielsens we lost; and now we had made a second appeal, which we were pretty confident about, since all the newly assembled facts were on our side. Laurel was nervous opening the letter, as was I. Some serious smiles or serious tears were about to happen, depending on what the next-to-last page of the decision said. Laurel flipped through the pages quickly, and we both saw at the same time the bold-faced words, Partitioning denied.
Smiles resulted, thank heavens. Our faith in the “system” would have been crushed if the Hearings Officer had come to any other decision. I won’t bother to go into the technicalities of the decision, which are of great interest to us, but would bore most anyone else to near-death, unless you are a hydrology-junkie, in which case you can phone me, and I’ll thrill you with tales of basalt/marine sediment aquifer boundaries and 2%/6% recharge rates. Only $3.99 a minute, VISA and MasterCard accepted, no minors please.
The Nielsens can appeal to the Board of County Commissioners. But since the Board refused to hear our appeal, forcing us to go through the trouble of appealing to the state Land Use Board of Appeals (which remanded the case back to the Hearings Officer), it would be blatantly unfair for the Commissioners to make a different decision now. In any event, the facts and the law are on our side, and it’s most unlikely that the Nielsens will be able to find any grounds for appealing this denial of their partitioning. If they’re smart, they’ll decide to simply sell their lot, and call it a day—hopefully having learned that when you move out of a neighborhood, and try to make money by harming the environment of that neighborhood, good karma isn’t going to fall in your lap (especially if Laurel Hines lives in that neighborhood).