Land use | News | Local

Damascus Faces Land-Use Laws Sanctions

OPB | Jan. 9, 2014 4:37 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 10, 2014 9:07 a.m.

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The city of Damascus is facing possible sanctions for failing to follow Oregon land-use laws. On Thursday, the state held an enforcement hearing in Salem.

Oregon requires growth plans for cities. No one at the hearing disputed that after nine years as a city, Damascus doesn’t have a plan. The debate centered on what to do about it.

Downtown Damascus

Downtown Damascus

Michael Clapp / OPB

Steve Shipsey with Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development told the hearings officer the law calls for a financial consequence.

“We’ve asked your proposed order to include an order that withholds $300,000, which is the total of the two grants that the state has provided,” says Shipsey.

Some testified that the state could get more directly involved in planning, but Shipsey says Metro’s involvement makes that difficult.

Damascus officials say taking money away wouldn’t harm the city financially, but would only undermine public support for planning. The city wants any enforcement delayed, until after Damascus votes on growth plans, expected in May.

The hearings officer recommendation is due late next week.

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