Plan to build cabins along scenic river corridor approved

November 02, 2012 02:05 pm

Planning commission grants conditional use permit that allows 2 vacation structures to be built on bluff 450 feet from Grande Ronde River

The Wallowa County Planning Commission reviewed findings on two applications — one to build a vacation cabin in the Wild and Scenic-designated Grande Ronde River corridor and another for a cell toawer outside of Joseph. 

Dave and Connie Howell of Cove own 244 acres on the Grande Ronde River. Two years ago they were denied an application by the commission to build five vacation cabins on their property along the river where it is designated Wild and Scenic on both the federal and state level. They appealed to the Wallowa County Commissioners and were denied again in accordance with state laws regarding building in a wild and scenic area.

A year after the decision, the Howells were allowed to reapply. In the meantime they placed five camp trailers along the river. This time they applied to build two cabins. The planning commission granted them a conditional use permit to build the cabins on a bluff overlooking the river, 450 feet from its bank, and to plant ponderosa pines to shield the structures from the river.

In September the Howells applied for a permit to build one of the cabins in the river corridor and were denied by the commission. Their permit allowing them to build the cabins on the bluff remains valid.


Cell tower request approved

AT&T applied to build a cell tower on industrial land owned by Jim Zacaharias outside of Joseph. The Planning Commission approved the request for the 120-foot tower because it is in compliance with zoning regulations and will be set back from the nearest road right-of-way by a distance of about 188 feet, and the lease area will be set back 28 feet from the closest property line.

In addition, the commission found that both the Federal Aviation Authority and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have made a determination of no hazard and therefore no lighting will be required on the tower. The equipment area will have lighting for maintenance, which will be downward-directed and have an automatic shut off.

The facility will be visited once a month by an ATC field representative and will be visited once a month by individual carriers’ representatives for upkeep and maintenance.