Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir, Outdoors

Westfir Planning Commission tentatively OKs two related proposals after 3 ½-hour public hearing

Share this article
Revised plan view of proposed campground that will lie between Westfir City Hall and Forest Service Road 19 Szabo Architectural Landscape

By GEORGE CUSTER/For The Herald — The Westfir Planning Commission tentatively approved proposals to develop a campground and the former Westfir post office site during a 3 1/2-hour hearing Tuesday night.

The first proposal was submitted by David Marchi of Bend. The plan includes remodeling the building that houses the Westfir post office and vacant Westfir store, and the adjacent parking lot on the east side of that building. A portion of that land would be dedicated to seasonal food carts and food trucks.

The proposal requests that the store be reopened as a grocery store with a portion of that store being used as a bike shop and taproom. A taproom refers to an establishment that typically serves craft beers and, often, wine.

The second application was for a conditional-use permit for a campground. It would encompass approximately 11 acres of undeveloped land that stretches from the Westfir City Hall to Forest Service Road 19, also known as the North Fork Road. The applicants are Nick and Jessi Gibson and Blair Banker.

Marchi and Gibson are friends, and the two projects appear to be mutually exclusive. The reopening of the store, to be known as Crows Feet, appears to be dependent on the development of the campground. Likewise, the opening of the campground will benefit from the amenities offered by the store.

Additional items requested

During last month’s commission meeting, the two proposals brought numerous requests that additional information be provided. The requests set the stage for Tuesday evening’s continuance.

Perspective rendering of proposed common area and pavilion next to the Log Scale Shack Cafe owned by Trans Cascadia Excursions. Szabo Landscape Architecture

Several engineers spoke on behalf of the applicants’ proposals. A landscape architect explained how changes from the original plan have been incorporated into the revised plan.

Earthen berms and numerous native plants and trees were design changes integrated into the plan to mitigate any noise coming from the 37-site campground.

There were many questions that were asked by both commissioners and the public. Concerns centered mostly around noise, traffic concerns and the overcrowding of Westfir. Some residents worried that the proposals would erode the peacefulness of their town.

Plot plan depicting plantings and berms to be installed as part of the noise mitigation plan. Szabo Landscape Architecture

A noise mitigation engineer answered many questions. Noise concerns centered around late-night activities by campers. The city’s quiet hours statute was read aloud at the meeting by Mayor Melody Cornelius.

The expected increase in traffic the projects would create was also a common concern. A traffic engineer admitted that it was difficult doing a traffic survey in a small city. Peak travel times that would be created by the campground were hard to estimate. Commissioners D’Lynn Williams, Edward Johnstone and Kelly Packard asked the engineers to elaborate on a number of issues that had been in question from the previous meeting. Newly appointed Commissioner Katherine Bishop had discussed the campground project with several people prior to being made a planning commissioner. She, therefore, recused herself from voting. She did, however, voice concerns on several issues.

Fitting within the comprehensive plan

The projects’ opponents centered much of their arguments around quality-of-life issues. Many felt the projects were not in keeping with the small-town culture that many worried would be lost if the campground went forward. At this point, Mayor Cornelius read from the city’s Comprehensive Plan of 2002. She adamantly stated that the projects were in line with the goals of bringing economic development to Westfir.  Cornelius also felt the goals of enticing tourism while keeping a small-town feel were also met.

It was also stated during the meeting that if all of the requirements for the conditional-use permit were met, the commission was required to approve it.

The application for the remodel of the old Westfir store was approved unanimously.

The campground conditional-use permit application was approved by a vote of 3-1, with Commissioner Bishop recusing herself. Kelly Packard, the dissenting vote, explained that he understood the arguments brought forward for the approval of the proposal but wavered in response to the amount of public outcry.

The commission plans to develop findings and to impose any conditions deemed necessary before forwarding the proposal to the City Council for concurrence or denial.

westfir campground proposal,protest sign
A sign protesting the campground proposal sprouts from a yard across the road from Westfir City Hall. The project’s sponsors say it would not be an ‘RV park,’ although RVs would be welcome for short stays. Herald photo

Comments are closed.

Lane County Libraries The Power of Partnership throughout Lane County Oregon

graphic: Classifieds

GARAGE SALE: Tell folks about your upcoming garage sale here.

LANDSCAPING SERVICES:  It’s that time of year.  Let everyone know what services you have to offer.

JOB OPENINGS: Need to let the community know that you need help. Post your job openings here.

 

OFFICE SERVICES AVAILABLE:  Copying, Scanning, Emailing & Faxing Services are now available at The Herald’s office in Oakridge.
CLICK HERE for details.

graphic: Classified Ad Posting is Now Available - For Sale • Help Wanted • Landscaping • Rentals • Homes for sale • Repairs • Remodeling • and More! - Post your classified ad with us today.

Public and Legal Notices Lane County Highway 58 Oregon

 

Public and Legal Notices Lane County Highway 58 Oregon

Follow H58H on Social Media

The calendar is temporarily disabled due to a rendering error. Please reload the page.