Central Oregon Landwatch v. Deschutes County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 02-03-2016
  • Case #: A160268
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Hadlock, C.J.

Under ORS 215.283(2)(c), “private parks” means space for low-intensity outdoor recreation and not space intended exclusively for private events that are commercial activity.

Petitioners sought review of a Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) order reversing a Deschutes County decision that granted a conditional use permit to petitioners to establish a “private park” on their property (216 acres zoned for farming) for the purpose of hosting weddings for a fee. Under ORS 215.283(2)(c), private parks may be established as nonfarm uses on property zoned for exclusive farm use. The County concluded that Petitioners’ proposed use constituted a private park because recreational uses would occur in connection with weddings and other events. LUBA reversed, concluding that Petitioners’ proposed purpose did not qualify as a private park. In reaching their decision, LUBA focused on the intent of the people who would reserve the property for an event. The context and legislative intent suggest that “private park” was intended to focus on low-intensity outdoor recreational uses (as opposed to water or amusement parks) not intended for commercial use. Based on the use that Petitioners propose for the property, the proposed use is not for a private park, but for a commercial event venue. Affirmed.

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