DUNES CITY — Dunes City’s old septic ordinance, 203, is still in effect following a Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) decision on June 5. At issue was the city’s adoption in November 2011 of ordinance 211A, which repealed 203. The appeal to LUBA was filed by Oregon Coast Alliance, Woahink Lake Association and former city councilor Susie Navetta.
Ordinance 203 requires every septic system to undergo initial inspection, including pumping and mapping of the system, followed by periodic inspections with records to be kept by the city. In its stead, ordinance 211A called for a voluntary education program, to be implemented before Nov. 10, 2012.
The state panel found that to comply with the city’s comprehensive plan, as interpreted at the time the city adopted 211A, the city must establish that the voluntary program will improve septic maintenance when compared to 203’s mandatory program. An alternative is to adopt a different interpretation of the comprehensive plan policy in question, which states: “The city shall adopt a program to improve maintenance of septic systems for the benefit of all residents.”
The LUBA opinion also concluded that to remain compliant with the city’s comprehensive plan, the city must adopt the education program the same time it repeals 203, and not allow the one-year window established under 211A.
An ad hoc city committee has developed the voluntary educational program, however, the program has not been formally adopted by the council.
City Recorder Fred Hilden said that LUBA’s decision will be on the city council’s agenda for discussion during its regular meeting, June 14.
The city is entitled to a judicial review before the Oregon Court of Appeals. Whether it would decide to spend more money on the issue is another matter.
Expenses so far are in the $23,000 range. An appeal is estimated to cost more than twice that amount.
“A remand from LUBA always means the local government has more work to do,” said Cameron La Follette, land use director for petitioner Oregon Coast Alliance (ORCA).
For the complete article see the 06-09-2012 issue.
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