OSU-Cascades and the city of Bend have filed briefs with the Oregon Court of Appeals supporting the development of the university’s campus under construction on the city’s west side.
The legal maneuvering began last summer, when a group of residents organized under the name Truth in Site formed to stop the construction of a 10-acre campus. The organization argues the campus is poorly planned and will result in roads being overrun with traffic. In court, Truth in Site has argued the development fails to adhere to the city’s development code, although city staff, an independent hearings officer, the City Council and a state board have all disagreed and sided with the campus.
If the Court of Appeals ruling is consistent with earlier decisions, Truth in Site could appeal to the state Supreme Court, though that body could also decide to not hear the case, effectively killing the challenge.
In its briefs, the city of Bend and OSU-Cascades argue Truth in Site is attempting to invalidate a sound interpretation of the development code by the City Council.
One of the key issues in the case is whether the university should be required to submit a master plan, a more detailed planning document than required for most projects.
The city’s code does not require master plans for sites like the university’s that are smaller than 20 acres; however, if the school expands onto an adjacent 46-acre property, a master plan would be required.
OSU-Cascades does not own that property but is exploring whether the site, an inactive pumice mine, would be feasible for a campus.
In its brief, the city of Bend emphasized that “the total area of the project is limited to 10.44 acres because that is the area that OSU owned and for which it submitted an application.”
OSU-Cascades made a similar point, writing, “The city correctly found that OSU owned only those 10.44 acres and could not file an application for an adjacent 46 acres of land that OSU did not own, having only a conditional purchase contract.”
Another issue being contested is the placement of a no-vehicle access strip. Truth in Site’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kleinman, earlier declined to comment why arguments made previously, including one about the university’s parking plan, are not being contested before the Court of Appeals.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Aug. 26.
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