Application denied: Oakridge quarry rejected after commissioner vote

Oakridge residents against a proposed quarry on TV Butte were handed a victory this week.

Posted: Oct 27, 2021 11:54 AM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- Oakridge residents against a proposed quarry on TV Butte were handed a victory this week.

On Tuesday, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to deny an application by Old Hazeldell LLC to build the quarry on the butte overlooking Oakridge.

Plans for the quarry have been in development for many years, but the project has been met with resistance from community members concerned about the various impacts it might have on the area.

The main reason for the denial was because Old Hazeldell LLC hadn’t come up with a strong answer for how they could protect deer and elk in the area, an issue brought to light by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Two commissioners, Jay Bozievich and Pat Farr, argued during a board meeting Tuesday that the public record be reopened so the company could have more time to develop a plan to minimize impact to wildlife, paving the way for the project’s approval.

However, the remaining three commissioners disagreed and voted down a motion to reopen the record before voting to deny the application altogether. The commissioners, backed by county staff, said the company had been provided appropriate time to engage with the board on the issue.

RELATED: PLAN FOR QUARRY NEAR OAKRIDGE FACES ANOTHER DELAY

“I believe we've provided ample time. Clearly this has been going on for several years, and we did ask the applicant in our very last public hearing if there was anything more - and there was not,” said commissioner Heather Buch said.

Still, Farr said time is “kind of a subjective thing” and that perhaps the company should be allowed more time to make its case.

“Those that support this denial are throwing away years of work, and are going against what would support affordable housing, lower carbon footprints, and provide jobs and revenue for this county,” Bozievich said.

However, Buch said she could not approve the application given the expected impact of the project.

“There are clearly other positives, but the environmental impact is clearly outweighing those positive impacts, and we should be … really considering those things,” Buch said.

On Facebook, Oakridge Mayor Kathy Nichols Holston thanked commissioners for “taking a stand” and denying the application.

The applicants are likely to appeal the decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. An attorney representing the applicants did not immediately return a request for comment.

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