Redmond resort development blocked

Hearings officer says Thornburgh resort has to start from scratch

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin

A Deschutes County hearings officer has dealt a major blow to a developer’s planned resort west of Redmond.

To move ahead with Thornburgh destination resort, developer Terrence Larsen will have to resubmit most of his planning documents and start a land use process from scratch, county hearings officer Karen Green ruled in late March. That process could take years, though Larsen has appealed the ruling.

At issue is whether any recent development has taken place at Thornburgh. Deschutes County code says a developer with a permit has to show some effort toward building a project within two years, or seek an extension. Otherwise, the permit can be voided.

Thornburgh’s case is complex. Kameron DeLashmutt, Thornburgh’s original developer, submitted a master plan in 2005 for 950 homes, 475 overnight lodging units and three golf courses on the 1,300-acre property about 8 miles west of Redmond.

Deschutes County approved DeLashmutt’s plan, but opponents appealed it to the state Supreme Court, and the 2008 housing market crash derailed the proposal. No homes or overnight lodging have been built.

Larsen, a Philadelphia banker, bought Thornburgh out of bankruptcy for $2 million in 2011, and has tried to revive the project.

At a county hearing in February, David Petersen, an attorney representing Larsen’s development group, told Green that developers have pumped nearly $7 million into Thornburgh since 2005, to build an access road and pay for other site work. Petersen called that work a “good-faith effort” to move forward.

But Green wrote in her March ruling the developers haven’t taken any new action on significant development hurdles, like water rights and fire protection. She voided Thornburgh’s master plan.

Developers have appealed Green’s decision, Petersen said Monday, but he declined to say what developers might do if the appeal is upheld.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, eglucklich@bendbulletin.com