Animal shelter

Animal shelter license confirmed | News

In front of a packed gallery on Monday night at its first in-person meeting since the summer of 2021, Newport City Council confirmed the Newport Planning Commission’s approval of a conditional use permit for a new animal sanctuary of the county on airport property.

Waldport resident Dan McCrea, a pilot flying from Newport Municipal Airport, appealed the planning commission’s January approval of Lincoln County’s application for a building permit for a new animal sanctuary on 5 acres on the southwest side of the airport. Although councilors rejected that appeal, several signaled that they may have difficult questions for the county at the next stage of the process.

Mayor Dean Sawyer noted during the opening of the quasi-judicial hearing on McCrea’s appeal that the scope of city council’s considerations would be limited to the narrow criteria of a conditional use permit and that he had a “broad discretion” in deciding whether, ultimately, allowing the property to be leased for the proposed purposes was in the public interest. At its previous regular meeting, Council voted to limit the appeal to evidence contained in the planning commission hearings record, as it found that no material procedural flaws had occurred at this stage.

Before McCrea presented his case, Community Development Manager Derrick Tokos reviewed the planning commission’s rationale in approving the permit – there were enough utilities present or they could be maintained if they weren’t. they were settled; the proposed use complies with the standards of the airport overlap zone and will not have a negative effect on other uses; and that because the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the area of ​​the proposed site for “non-aeronautical uses” as part of the airport’s master plan, the FAA has deemed it safe to use it for such purposes .

McCrea, who appeared at the hearing with her sister, Gina McCrea, argued that locating the shelter in line with a track was inherently dangerous; that stormwater ponds tend to attract birds (“Birds and planes don’t mix,” he said); that the infrastructure was not really sufficient to support the shelter without great expense; and that the FAA’s signature of the airport’s master plan only indicated that it posed no danger to the runway itself, not that the location was safe.

McCrea’s testimony was met with applause from about 30 people in the gallery, many drawn by public opposition to the airport location of Friends of Lincoln County Animals, whose board wrote a letter to the editor of the News-Times last week urging the county to move. The organization’s letter warns of harm to animals from noise and exhaust from planes and the nearby US Coast Guard rescue helicopter station.

Although McCrea expressed similar concerns in his written appeal brief, they were not significantly discussed at the hearing, as they were not part of the planning commission’s record.

County Deputy Jerry Herbage, who appeared on behalf of Lincoln County with animal shelter manager Sara Wynveen, said obtaining a conditional use permit had a low bar that was hit in the application. . Herbage noted that the permit was a preliminary step in a sequential process, and as such it made sense that some questions about feasibility remained unanswered.

“Based on the evidence and information in the record, it is reasonable and appropriate for the board to find in favor of the respondent (county),” Herbage said. He said the site was remarkably isolated and pointed to comments from city staff that if they were to limit all construction in line with the caller’s flight path concerns, ‘we would be picking up a lot of private property’ .

Councilors ultimately voted five to two to uphold the planning commission’s decision, with councilors Ryan Parker and Jan Kaplan opposing the assertion. Several indicated that they wanted to ask questions that were outside the scope of the official call, particularly in terms of security. City Attorney David Allen said reviewing a lease, if Lincoln County makes a formal request, would be the appropriate venue for such matters.

An appraisal of the site under contract with the city valued it at around $500,000, with a proposed rent of $41,250 per year.