August 27, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Forest land has prevailed over urbanization under a decision Monday by the Union County Planning Commission to deny further subdivision of Morgan Lake Estates.

The planning commission upheld its July vote to tentatively deny a county plan amendment that would have allowed up to 11 lots on 204 acres zoned for farm and forest use.

Sam Ledridge, who lives in Morgan Lake Estates between La Grande and the lake, applied for a plan amendment that would have changed the subdivisions zone from farm-forestry to rural residential, allowing 10-acre lots.

The application was Ledridges second unsuccessful attempt to receive permission to build on property within the subdivision. More than a year ago, he was denied permission to build a house on about 30 acres he owns in Morgan Lake Estates. The area, subdivided before land use laws were passed, has several houses on lots of varying sizes.

In voting for denial, the planning commission considered several issues including:

The hazardous conditions of the county-owned and maintained Morgan Lake Road.

The number of new lots could increase the areas residential development by as much as a third. Thirty-one residents use Morgan Lake Road.

The increased traffic on Morgan Lake Road, which now carries about 310 trips per day. The planning department has estimated that with 11 houses, an additional 110 trips would be made.

Continued timber harvest within the area and the possibility of increased timber management in the future.

Ledridge has the right to appeal the planning commissions decision to the county commissioners.