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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Decision on Lenahan appeal to Hayes Farm partition delayed

Decision on Lenahan appeal to Hayes Farm partition delayed

ENTERPRISE — A land-use proposal in Joseph had one more turn of events at a public hearing Monday when the county commissioners discovered the applicant filed a petition with the circuit court to change the jurisdiction of the decision.

Eastern Oregon Land Development bought some of what is known as the Hayes Farm on Airport Road just outside of Joseph. In May, the Wallowa County Planning Department approved partitions that would subdivide the farm, allowing for small, buildable parcels.

John Lenahan filed an appeal and in July the planning commission remanded the planning director’s decision. At a Sept. 24 meeting, the commission reversed its decision, allowing for the parcels to be partitioned.

Lenahan then appealed to the county commissioners and a date of Dec. 16 was set for the hearing, yet on Dec. 12, Lenahan petitioned the court with a writ of mandamus claiming the county had violated the allowable time frame to rule on the matter.

At the hearing, counsel for the county, Paige Sully, said she had reviewed the petition, but had not received the writ from the circuit court. Since the writ had not been received, the commissioners proceeded with the hearing.

“We are here today to hear what everyone has to say, and then we need to take the body of evidence as a whole into making a decision or not,” Mike Hayward, board of commissioners chairman, said.

Lenahan’s appeal claims the planning commission misapplied Oregon’s Measure 49 land-use law.

“We do encourage you to make a decision. We believe when the court acts on the writ of mandamus, the decision the court makes has to be in compliance with land-use plans and development codes,” said Hanley Jenkins, representing the Hayes Farm and Eastern Oregon Property Development LLC. “I believe there is substantial evidence to support findings to approve and turn over the appeal.”

Lenahan’s appeal claimed the planning commission erred in its process and said there was undue influence in the applicant’s behalf, preventing the commission from being impartial.

“I always have a sense, especially when you receive something that says you are taking too long, that it’s a knee-jerk reaction. I think even Jenkins suggested we have more information to review and digest,” Hayward said. “So although I came into this hearing that we might get through this process today, we are not. A lot of time has passed since this started initially and we continued this to a time certain. We will review information and this is not the type of information one reviews casually. There are a lot of references. We have our work to do, there’s no question.”

Contact Katy Nesbitt at 541-786-4235 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Katy on Twitter @lgoNesbitt.

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