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Court affirms LUBA decision
Litigation could continue in Island City controversy
The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals to remand the issue of a trucking company in a residential zone back to Island City.
Debra and Scott Stevens have battled the presence of Jon Fregulia’s trucking company next door to their Buchanan Lane home for years. The Stevenses have said Island City inappropriately granted a home occupation permit for the business, which the Stevenses have said sets a bad precedent for those in residential zones.
In the Court of Appeals decision made last week, Judge P.J. Armstrong wrote, “Although LUBA’s treatment of petitioners’ assignment of error was brief, we see nothing in it that leads us to conclude that LUBA misunderstood or misapplied its standard of review. LUBA referred to the evidence on which the city had relied in reaching its decision, viz., that Fregulia and his family live on the property, that no customers or sales were to be allowed on site, that no signage was proposed, and that conditions were imposed limiting the location, time, and activities association with the home occupation.”
The decision also says the LUBA decision must be affirmed if LUBA properly understand, and applied the substantial-evidence test.
La Grande Attorney Phillip Wasley, who has represented the Stevenses throughout the years-long matter, said at this juncture there are still options available, including appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court or private litigation.
“We’re still considering our options,” he said.
Wasley noted the LUBA decision agreed with the Stevenses on five out of nine issues. The board agreed with the Stevenses’ contention that 600 square feet in accessory building is not enough space from which to operate a trucking business and that too many employees work on the site. They disagreed, however, with their claim that the home occupation was not secondary to the residence.
“Right now there is no permit for Fregulia,” Wasley said.
Island City Mayor Dale De Long and Fregulia declined to comment for this story, citing the potential for continued litigation.