Deschutes County Commissioners heard testimony Monday over a proposed bed and breakfast near Smith Rock State Park.
The development would be situated just across the road from the park’s iconic red rock face. The site would sleep up to 28 guests in three rooms and 10 campsites. It’s being proposed by the Mazama Foundation, which promotes mountaineering and affordable outdoor education.
At the hearing Monday, property neighbor Luis Elenes said there’s not enough room for both a campground and a bed and breakfast on the site.
“It really is just trying to cram too much in a very small space. It really is short-sighted, irresponsible and is just not in accordance with Deschutes County Code.”
The Mazamas argue that the lodging would help relieve some of the congestion at the state park campground and provide an affordable place to stay.
Commissioners will vote on the development at an upcoming meeting.
The proposal was approved by a county hearing officer, with a number of conditions to minimize noise, fire potential, odors and visual impacts of the development. That approval was appealed by a neighbor to the proposed site.
The Mazama Foundation is aligned with the Portland-based nonprofit that promotes mountaineering and affordable outdoor recreation and training opportunities. The group hopes to offer rooms and sites for $30 a night or less.
Neighbors also expressed concerns about noise from campers. The property is situated near other single-family developments, and across from a mobile home park.
Although the popularity of Smith Rock already creates traffic noise during the day, neighbors said they’re worried that more overnight visitors could continue noise levels into the evening.
“When it starts getting to evening time right now, it’s quiet,” said Marla Gibson, the neighbor who appealed the county hearing officer’s approval.
From 2011 to 2016, visitation at Smith Rock State Park increased from 450,000 to about 700,000 day-use visitors annually.
The state park is currently in the public process of developing a new master plan to deal with parking, campgrounds and crowds.