With two applications already pending on the contested 60-acre piece of Marr property, located between Joseph and Wallowa Lake, property owner K & B Family Limited Partnership complicated the matter even further Oct. 29 by filing for a third application - a partition application - on the same piece of property.
The third application, if approved, would divide the property into 35 acre, 15 acre and 10 acre parcels.
Although conscious not to discuss the application because of the likelihood that it will be appealed in the future and end up in their jurisdiction, the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners did discuss the economic burden the applications on one piece of property is having on the taxpayers of Wallowa County.
"Other than periodic review," said county Planning Director Bill Oliver, "I honestly don't remember anything else even coming close to the amount of hours I have spent on this subdivision. I have seven file boxes of recent applications on the Marr Property and have often spent up to 40 percent of my time on this one matter."
At the Monday morning board of commissioners meeting when Oliver informed Commissioners Mike Hayward, Ben Boswell and Dan DeBoie of the third application, much discussion was held on the possibility of placing a surcharge on the applicant for the additional workload placed on the planning department.
To date K & B has paid $700 in fees for the initial application to divide the 60 acres into 11 parcels, $450 in fees for the second application to place a single family dwelling on the property and $250 in fees for the third application.
Although some additional fees can be triggered, the fees will not approach the costs to the planning department. "The second and third application on the same property goes beyond what public tax dollars should have to support," Hayward said.
Boswell expressed concerns about creating a surcharge, such as charging the applicant on a per hour basis, simply because of one issue that might not likely be repeated. Current county ordinances do not address the economic problems that have surfaced because of the multiple applications on the Marr Property.
"If ever there was a reason for a surcharge this is it," Hayward said.
Last updated in 2002, Oliver will present the commissioners on Dec. 6 with a new proposed separate fee schedule for the planning department that could impact the situation.
The original application for an 11-parcel subdivision is held up on an appeal before the Oregon Court of Appeals. K & B appealed a remand decision returned from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals to the board of commissioners. The second application for a one family dwelling was approved by the Wallowa County Planning Commission, but final findings have been delayed until a decision is rendered by the Oregon Court of Appeals.