An independent land use hearings official in Eugene, Oregon has rejected the applicant’s proposal to construct a 75-lot planned unit development (PUD) in the sensitive Amazon Headwaters Keystone, one of Eugene’s last outstanding natural resource areas. The hearings official denied the proposal, dubbed the “Deerbrook PUD,” despite a recommendation from City planning staff in favor of conditional approval of the intensive development.
This victory for conservation along Amazon Creek, which is Eugene’s primary watershed, covering about 60% of the city’s area, came despite a recommendation from City planning staff in favor of conditional approval of the intensive development. This is the fourth time developers have sought to construct homes on the property; each application has been either denied, or withdrawn in the face of opposition.
“This victory represents a vital step in protecting and restoring all of Amazon Creek,” said Dan Snyder, an attorney with the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, the firm representing Southeast Neighbors, one of the primary groups opposing the proposal. “We are pleased that the hearings official correctly rejected the applicant’s attempts to develop one of Eugene’s last outstanding natural resources. The Amazon Headwaters deserve protection and stewardship, not pavement and shingles.”
“We’ve shown again through the hearings process that development of the Amazon Headwaters Keystone is beyond problematic,” said Kevin Matthews, president of Southeast Neighbors. “Even under Eugene’s porous environmental and safety regulations, we’ve been able to block destruction of our remaining natural watershed connection.”
“With this decision, we hope again for progress toward our continuing community goal – purchase of the Amazon Headwaters Keystone for conservation, at a reasonable and fair market value price.”
The 26 acre site of the Deerbrook PUD, or Beverly Property, located south and west of Martin Street at West Amazon Drive, is known as the headwaters “keystone” because it is the last remaining undeveloped place where an ecological corridor can be saved and restored that connects the Amazon Creek headwaters natural areas with the Amazon Greenway that winds through the heart of the city.
The Deerbrook PUD application is notable in that it is the only PUD application to seek approval under the cryptic Needed Housing provisions of the Eugene land use code. In his findings supporting denial of the application, the hearings official found that a code provision prohibiting development on slopes greater than 20% is indeed clear and objective.
- Background on the Amazon Headwaters Keystone and the 15-year struggle to protect it
- Decision of the Hearing Official for the City of Eugene on the Deerbrook PUD
- Official Press Release
President, Southeast Neighbors
Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C.