Joseph remains active in LUBA decisionAt a special meeting Sept. 23 the Joseph City Council reserved the right to cross-appeal the Land Use Board of Appeal's recent Marr Ranch Subdivision decision. The controversial piece of property is located in Joseph's urban growth boundary just south of the city and north of the old Chief Joseph monument property near Wallowa Lake.

By a 5-2 vote the council authorized city attorney Mark Tipperman in a teleconference call to file a notice to cross-appeal Sept. 24, but with the stipulation it would go ahead with an appeal only if a legal brief is necessary to protect the city's interests in an appeal being filed by subdivision applicant K & B Family Limited Partnership.

Councilors Jennifer Ballard and Nadine Duncan voted against the motion.

"This would be a filing a petition of notice to cross-appeal on LUBA's decision that the county's decision was 'a limited land use decision' and LUBA's failure to address city's argument that the perpetual single-family dwelling decision violated applicable law (the city's land use plan)," said Tipperman.

Councilor Jennifer Ballard read to Tipperman the reported content of the K & B appeal from a Sept. 23 Wallowa County Chieftain story, and Tipperman agreed that if the appeal was limited to what was reported, there would be no need to write a brief in the appeal.

He said if a brief did turn out to be necessary, however, extra time and expense would be minimal to, at the same time, appeal the city-related issues in the LUBA decision, which he said "was generally favorable to the city."

The LUBA decision pointed out a number of errors in the county's approval of the proposed subdivision's preliminary plat and remanded it back to the city.

Two assignments of errors by LUBA from the city's appeal were that the applicant cannot prohibit future urbanization of property in Joseph's urban growth boundary and that the access road should be a public road, as asserted by the city.

Steve Krieger, representing the subdivision applicant, stated at the special meeting that "the position in the paper is exactly what is going to happen. There's no secret agenda here." He said that the planning office and his attorney discovered "one particular item that was an obvious defect" in the LUBA decision that was being appealed that didn't affect the city or the main issues in the LUBA decision. He said that the issues remanded by LUBA "we look at as fix'em items."

Because the applicant's appeal has nothing to do with the city "I can see no need to waste any more funds," Ballard said. She later questioned Tipperman about the cost of filing the intent to cross-appeal, and he said it would be "a relatively small amount" involving copies, certified mail, a small amount of legal fees and possibly a filing fee.

"I think we need to take all appropriate measures to make sure not to leave gaps in our protection," councilor Shelley Curtiss said in favor of filing the notice.

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