State Land Use Appeals Board Hears Oral Arguments in Canby’s Seven Acre Case

The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, or LUBA, heard oral arguments earlier this month in the case of the Seven-Acre Subdivision on North Maple Street.

The proposal was for a 22-lot subdivision on — you guessed it — seven acres of land (technically, 6.84 acres, but who’s counting). The project, which was designed in six phases by Canby Development LLC, has been in the works since at least 2015.

It was heard and approved, unanimously, by the Planning Commission in 2017 and appealed to the City Council that same year by local attorney Michael McNichols, Tony Polito, and the Friends of NE Maple Street. Councilors heard the case in January 2018, and they also approved it, with conditions. McNichols and co. then appealed to LUBA.

Oral arguments were heard before LUBA on Jan. 16, 2019, because nothing moves quickly in state land use decisions. The city of Canby and Canby Development are both “respondents” — the appellate version of “defendants” — in the case.

One of the main bones of contention is over the proposed use of the Molalla Forest Logging Road, which is on city-owned land and exists within a conservation easement benefiting the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The city approved the subdivision’s request to use the road for emergency access purposes. But McNichols, the petitioner, doesn’t believe the city had the legal authority to grant such a variance, and that this use would be out of line with the existing easement and municipal codes.

Prior to oral arguments, the last hearing in the case had been over Canby Development’s motion to dismiss the case, which the board heard in December, and denied. A final decision is expected on Feb. 14 — Happy Singles Awareness Day.

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