Fire Road's

"Lake Lorane"

This flooded field is one of the developers's building sites at the end of Fire Road after several days of rain in December 2001.
(Note the kayak.)
Text and photo by Norm Maxwell

Oregon's Court of Appeals reaffirmed its original decision of November 27, 2001 in favor of the Fire Road Defense League on the 6th of February 02.

Lane County's Land Management Division is not happy. It has the option of trying to take "Maxwell vs Lane County" to Oregon's Supreme Court. My lawyer tells me that the OSC hears one case in a hundred. It looks like the developer and I can work out a solution for the end of Fire Road that will revert the zoning back to the original Rural Residential 10 acre lot size in such a manner that I can stand down and never have to defend the Siuslaw flood plain at the end of the road from attempted rezoning again. If I settle with the developer, my neighborhood is safe from Lane County sanctioned development but the LMD personnel involved in perpetrating this fraud will escape accountability.

The neighbors next door who bought a two acre illegal lot will be able to reassemble it through a "multi party replat" with ten acres of the developer's, sell and move on as they wish to. Under its current cloud of legal problems, a buyer is hard to find. If I choose to take "Maxwell vs Lane County" to the next level, The panel of judges who decided "Maxwell vs LC" have remanded the case back to Lane County to fix under the new assumption that all lots used in the LMD approved system of zoning breaking must be legal. You would have never thought this would have been an issue.

It is possible I might have to fight "Maxwell" through the county hearings and Board of County Commissioners, through Oregon's Land Use Board of Appeals and back to the Court of Appeals AGAIN. I think the enemy may grant me a little more credibility than it did originally. What to do? If I settle now, I will have driven the LMD/developer complex out of my neighborhood. I will no longer have to shell out my own money to keep the developers at bay while most of the neighbors sit on their hands and watch from the sidelines.

They have money for new cars, Hawaiian vacations and industrial sized green houses, but see no point in wasting their hard earned dough on fighting the common enemy if I will do it anyway. If I settle now, I will be a common NIMBYist who stops fighting the minute the enemy is out of my 'hood. If I do the right thing and hold the Land Management Division accountable for its actions I will continue to spend money, possibly for years, while nobody cares. It's like peeing your pants in a dark gives you a warm feeling for a minute and nobody notices.

If I continue to fight, I will focus on the invalidation of the Lane County "lot line adjustment" and its resultant "migrating tax lot." These tools are used by our LMD/developer complex to create more building sites on the same amount of land. The LC "lot line adustment" and "migrating tax lot" have nothing in common with Oregon land use law. County land use policy can not be less restrictive than state law.

Because most logical sites are already occupied with homes, the complex plays number games that enables it to stick home sites in flood plains and other ridiculous places in order to make money here in Lane County. A developer will do anything the LMD tells him he can.

What would you do in this situation? Please respond to our poll. Vote either
Settle or Continue the fight. We will publish the results next issue.

Norm Maxwell, block captain, Fire Road Defense League

Fire Road Update December, 2001
The Tentative Truce of Fire Road Summer, 2001
Home, Home On Fire Road Winter, 2000
The Continuing Battle for Fire Road Fall, 2000
Battle for Fire Road
Late Summer, 2000

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