Sep
15
2013

Support Hughes for Kehoe’s Council Seat

LO Stewards board member, Lauren Hughes, is being considered to replace Mike Kehoe on the city council.  Hughes received Kehoe’s endorsement but the council is deadlocked 3 to 3.  Council will reconsider the situation on September 24th.  We encourage you to support Lauren as she has deep understanding of many council issues–particularly two of the 2013 council goals– “sensitive lands” and the Comprehensive Plan.

Click here to read the Lake Oswego Review article about the deadlock.

Sep
15
2013

Metro’s Appeal to LUBA About Power, Politics and Control

LUBA remanded the LO City Council’s decision to remove one partially developed residential acre from the city’s “sensitive lands” program, due to technical issues in the way the city’s findings were done.  Why all the fuss over 1, yes ONE, acre of partially developed private yards?  Power, Politics, Control.

Read Bob Thompson’s citizen’s view here.

Jun
21
2013

City Manager Admits “Sensitive Lands” Program is “Broken”

During the June 18, 2013 City Council study session on “sensitive lands”, City Manager Tom Coffee stated that the “sensitive lands” program is “broken” and should have been fixed years ago.  That’s for sure.  We’ll continue to keep advocating to ensure that this very broken program gets fixed.

 

 

Mar
24
2013

LO Resident Can’t Sell Property Because of Sensitive Lands


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During citizen comment on September 18, 2012, a long time resident explains to council the difficulty he has had selling his property because of the “sensitive lands” overlay.  He discusses the devaluation of this property and the particular unfair nature given that his family provided a “bargain sale” of two acres of the adjoining property in the 1990s as a means of protecting a wetland area at West Waluga Park.  After the family graciously helped protect that wetland, the city placed a “sensitive lands” overlay on the remaining family owned acreage.  We’re glad we have a new council that is more respectful of citizens.

Mar
24
2013

Councilor Olson Explains the Burden of Sensitive Lands


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During a study session on October 9, 2012, Councilor Mary Olson explains the unfair burden of “sensitive lands” and addresses the common misperceptions of this land use restriction.  Thankfully, the 2013 City Council is working to make changes.

Mar
22
2013

Finally, A Winning Solution to “Sensitive Lands”!

Thank you to Mayor Studebaker and Councilors Kehoe, Gudman, Bowerman and O’Neill for their votes in a 5 to 2 decision on March 19th to move forward with a proposal to create a more equitable, respectful and responsible approach to the “sensitive lands” program.  This new approach finally addresses citizens’ concerns about “sensitive lands”:

  • That “sensitive lands” is a political trade program, not an environmental program
  • That property selections have been arbitrary and capricious
  • That private property owners have been damaged by limited use and loss of value of their properties
  • And that those with “sensitive lands” designations (10% of homeowners) are being sacrificed and traded for “public benefit”

Based on a proposal brought to Council last year by land use attorney Dave Hunnicutt of Oregonians in Action (see our July 24, 2012 post ), this new approach provides a fair, reasonable, common sense solution to citizens’ concerns.  It recognizes that the 203 acres of private residential property currently burdened with sensitive lands, is not the most environmentally significant land and can be regulated like 90% of the community under the multitude of environmental regulations in the community development code and tree code.  And, it recommends that about 200 acres of public park/natural areas be added to the “sensitive lands” program.

Revising where “sensitive lands” apply is a solution that actually is more beneficial to the environment as it protects the larger tracts of public park/natural areas that are more environmentally significant than citizens’ developed yards.  It also actually is in closer alignment with Metro’s maps and intent.  The proposal also includes the city increasing restoration and maintenance activities on our 600 acres of parks and natural areas, most of which a consultant says are currently in “poor” condition.  And, it engages the entire community, not just the current 10%, in stewardship education so that we are all pulling together and invested in environmental issues in our community.

More of our public parks and natural areas should be "sensitive lands".

This is an example of current "sensitive lands"--a ditch that is considered a significant waterway.

Dec
4
2012

LO Stewards Discusses the “Sensitive Lands” Trade


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During the January 17, 2012 City Council meeting, LO Stewards PAC Treasurer, Bob Thompson, and Citizens for Stewardship of Lake Oswego Lands Board member, Lauren Hughes, review the “sensitive lands” trade of private residential property and ask Council for policy change.  These clips offer a quick and thorough overview of the “trade” issue.

Clip on Left:  Bob Thompson

Clip on Right:  Lauren Hughes

 

Dec
4
2012

Sensitive Lands Reduces Property Values


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More citizens have come forward to explain how “sensitive lands” reduces property value.  Watch the short video clips of citizen testimony before city council about the loss of use and value of residential property because of arbitrary “sensitive lands” overlays.

From left to right: 

Clip #1 Colin Grant speaking at the 7/10/12 public hearing.

Clip #2 Ed Brockman speaking at the 7/10/12 public hearing.

Clip #3 Chris Robinson speaking at the 1/17/12 Council meeting.

 

Oct
4
2012

LO Stewards PAC Endorses Studebaker, Williams, O’Neill and Bowerman

November 9, 2012 UPDATE:  Congratulations to Mayor Elect Kent Studebaker and Councilors Elect Karen Bowerman, Skip O’Neill and Jon Gustafson.  

The members of the LO Stewards PAC conducted individual interviews with all candidates for Lake Oswego Mayor and City Council positions and have attended several candidate forums.  It was very clear that Mayoral candidate Kent Studebaker has citizens rights and interests as a top priority and would work to resolve the “sensitive lands” issue in a way that respects the rights of all private property owners.  His opponent, Greg Macpherson, was not sympathetic to the arbitrary, inequitable and devaluing impacts that 10% of residential property owners have endured with “sensitive lands” and indicated that he would defer to Metro regarding this issue.  Given his time in the State legislature, his Metro-centric approach, and his governor appointment to the State’s Land Conservation and Development Commission, we are very concerned that citizens will not receive consideration or fair resolution of “sensitive lands” if Mr. Macpherson is elected.

City Council candidates Dan Williams, Skip O’Neill and Karen Bowerman were all also very clear in their concern and respect for citizens and all three expressed a desire to resolve the “sensitive lands” issue to ensure fairness and respect for citizens’ properties.  Incumbent Bill Tierney indicated to us that he can live with the inequities of the “sensitive lands” program, although he would not want a “sensitive lands” designation on his wooded property.  Jon Gustafson indicated that he finds the “sensitive lands” program to be arbitrary and he acknowledged that it devalues property.  He said that as a realtor and builder/remodeler, he personally would not purchase “sensitive lands” property.  However, he wants to retain the program for private property but adjust it to regulate the “real resources”.  Both he and Mr. Tierney greatly concern us in that they are willing to regulate others but not live under the regulation themselves.  Terry Jordan was not aware of “sensitive lands” prior to our meeting.

We are fortunate to have four strong candidates in Studebaker, Williams, O’Neill and Bowerman who will fight for citizens’ rights and respect the property of all citizens.  Please vote for Studebaker, Williams, O’Neill and Bowerman.

 

Sep
27
2012

LO Stewards Files Motion to Intervene on Metro LUBA Appeal

February 9, 2013 UPDATE:  LUBA Appeal delayed until March 2013 due to the City’s request for an extension.  Keep checking back for more information.

On 9/18/12, LO Stewards filed a Motion to Intervene on the side of the Respondent, City of Lake Oswego, regarding Metro’s appeal to LUBA regarding the City’s isolated tree grove decision.  While we are usually not in agreement with the City about “sensitive lands”, the LO Stewards Board felt a responsibility to intervene on the side of the City in order to help protect citizens’ property rights.

Is Metro the Boss of Lake Oswego?

In the LO Review, LO Stewards board member Bob Thompson writes:

“Metro’s appeal to the state land use board (LUBA) is an aggressive, orchestrated political move against Lake Oswego citizens.  ‘Big Brother’ Metro’s appeal is about drawing a line in the sand in advance of the proposal Councilor (Mary) Olson is preparing with city staff to provide broader reform to the ‘sensitive lands’ program. “

To read the full article, click here.

While we preferred the removal of all private residential property from the onerous “sensitive lands” trade program, not just the few removed by the isolated tree groves decision, we support the City’s right to adjust the program and we want to see further reform.  Metro’s interference in the Council’s decision to remove a few acres of private residential property from this damaging and devaluing program is politics at its worst.

Stay Tuned!