The Low Down on Cathedral Park CUP


by Jenny Oberst Lupton

Cathedral Park is a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a 172-unit controlled-income rent housing development initially applied for in April 2002. This site is located on the southern-most 15.8 acres of Rest Haven Memorial Park Cemetery, to the west of Willamette St. The City of Eugene initially rejected the application, at which point the applicant appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). LUBA remanded the City’s rejection and required them to provide the required land use application process for the CUP application. Essentially the ball went back to the applicant’s court, but no action was taken by the applicant until May 2016.

How Did We Get Here?

On January 1, 2016, Oregon Law 2015 Chapter 522, Section 3 went into effect, which states that any LUBA findings remanded to a city must take final action on the application within 120 days. That 120 day period began on May 11, 2016, when the applicant submitted the original CUP application. It could even go on up to 365 days if both parties enter into mediation. The applicant had to make a choice to abandon the original application completely- because if he didn’t re-apply within 180 days of January 1- the application would be finally terminated, or attempt to move forward with the original plans.

Community Input and City Review

A public hearing was held June 29th the record was left open for additional comment and evidence through July 15th and the Eugene Hearing Official (HO) gave conditional approval to the application on July 31, 2016.

Appeals from Both Sides

On August 11, 2016, appeals were filed by two parties. The applicant found failure in HO’s decision to make a finding in respect to the applicability of standards and criteria that were adopted after the date of the 2002 application and wanted that to be an imposed condition of the approval. This is an important detail since building criteria and standards have changed in the 14 years since the initial application was filed.

Marilyn Cohen on behalf of multiple neighborhood opponents also filed an appeal that day on the HO decision. This appeal sites errors such as public wastewater services not available to entire project, proposed piping of Brae Burn Creek, insufficient evidence on proposed stormwater services, access roads and utilities and vagueness of the application.

More Hearings and Deliberation

A public hearing was held August 23 and the Planning Commission (PC) deliberated on August 25 and 29. On August 29, 2016, they found that the HO’s decision in regard to applicability of standards and criteria from the 2002 application was correct and the applicant’s appeal was denied.

As for the opponent’s appeal, the PC found the HO to be without error on all accounts except for piping of Brae Burn Creek. For this, the PC added a condition that the piping should be removed from the application and that the creek may only be piped if the applicant can demonstrate its necessity with a licensed engineering analysis.

On September 2nd, the applicant gave notice of intent to appeal the August 29Final Order.

The Future of Cathedral Park

The applicant has appealed the Final Order for the CUP, but it would appear that the previous meetings, hearings, deliberations and decisions have set in place that even though the application has been conditionally approved, any future development will be held at current design standards-not those current at the time of the application in 2002. This presents a problem for the applicant’s apparent intentions for the development, so more appeals can be expected.

For more information go to: http:/pdd.eugene-or.gov/LandUse/ApplicationSearch and search under name for Cathedral Park.