Custom Planning Services' Position Statement on Santa Clara/River Road Annexations

Property owners in the River Road/Santa Clara area of Eugene will soon have a much harder time developing their land. Senate Bill 417, which becomes effective January 2, 2008, abolishes the Lane County Boundary Commission (LCBC.) This change will make it illegal to annex into Eugene (and therefore develop) property that is within the Urban Growth Boundary unless it is adjacent to an already annexed parcel. This limitation is in direct conflict with the Metro Area General Plan and the City Council’s Adopted Growth Management Policies 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Eugene City Council’s stated goals are to increase density within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB.) These goals were created as a means to resist urban sprawl and further expansion of the UGB.

Custom Planning Services has sent a letter to hundreds of property owners in the Santa Clara/ River Road area informing them of the change in annexation law. We understand that many neighbors are concerned about forced annexation into the City of Eugene. CPS does not support forced annexation. CPS wants people who DO want to develop their property to understand the law and their rights. CPS fully supports the right of individual property owners to make informed, legal, appropriate decision regarding their land use planning, whether that leads to annexation and development or not.

Owners of un-annexed property in the Santa Clara/ River Road area who want to partition or subdivide their property need to act quickly. Applications must be approved by the City of Eugene before they can go to the LCBC. The deadline for filing for annexation with the LCBC is December 31, 2007. The City of Eugene will need at least 30 days prior to that. Custom Planning Services can prepare your application within two weeks of receiving a signed contract and retainer. If you wish CPS to file an application on your behalf we need to begin work as soon as possible.

BACKGROUND

Senate bill 417 abolishes the LCBC and blocks annexation applications of non-contiguous property within the UGB. Senator Vicki Walker and Representatives Phil Barnhart and Chris Edwards sponsored it. The bill was passed through the state legslature, even though it only applies locally. Dennis Taylor, then City Manager, and the Planning Department recommended full support of the Boundary Commission in line with City Planning Goals and historic precedent. City Council voted 7-1 to remain neutral instead, tacitly supporting Senate Bill 417.

CPS is uncertain whether City Council members understood that non-contiguous annexations (which took place in the Santa Clara/River Road area since 1969 via the LCBC,) will no longer be allowed. CPS believes that the lack of support for the LCBC by the City Council may have been a result of pressure from anti-growth forces in the Santa Clara/River Road area.

This new legislation seriously impairs the property rights of owners wishing to develop their non-contiguous land within Santa Clara/River Road. CPS feels that SB 417 was poorly conceived and/or misrepresented and is destructive to the orderly development of property within Eugene’s Urban Growth Boundary. Custom Planning Services is fully supporting of orderly, thoughtful and ecologically sensitive development in the Santa Clara/River Road area.