Council votes to recommend denial of zone change

By Observer Upload November 14, 2012 02:53 pm

S&V Properties wanted to develop 27,900 square feet into office, barn, warehouse, more

Enterprise doesn’t want Wallowa County to allow a commercial site next to its water supply.

The city’s staff report said Paula Krieger petitioned the county to change the zoning distinction so S&V Properties could develop 27,900 square feet including an office, warehouse, barn, storage, corral, secured and unsecured parking for up to 206 vehicles, a helipad, and 25 acres of underlying land with 10 acres of irrigated pasture for lease to a government agency.

The city planning commission discussed the proposal at their Nov. 6 meeting. Three days later they toured the  city’s springs, water collection and delivery system, on property adjacent to the proposed commercial site.

Rob Taylor of the commission said he was impressed by the size and exposure of the watershed and the proximity of adjacent properties.

The former Super Fund site was already rezoned under S&V’s ownership from industrial to residential, which the city approved. A change from residential to commercial could mean building a facility that stores chemicals or petroleum - that got the city’s attention.

Marc Stauffer, director of the commission said, “We are extremely concerned about the sensitive area and the 2,000-plus people who depend on the water. Whatever transpires we all want it protected.”

The commission was evenly split 3-3 whether to recommend denial or endorse the proposal with precautions — leaving the decision to the city council. The council voted unanimously to recommend denial of the zone change.

The county’s public hearing is Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Wallowa County courtroom.

At its Monday night meeting, the council also met with Steve Carper, owner of Terminal Gravity Brewing, about the brewery’s water and sewer usage. The city’s recent sewer rate overhaul jumped up a hand full of heavy water users.

A close look into the brewery’s water use compared to how much it estimated it needed to brew a year’s supply revealed a glaring gap. The brewery partially shut down to investigate and it was determined that an old compressor’s valve was stuck in the open position resulting in a loss of 2.25 gallons per minute.

Carper’s letter to the council said the brewery is considering three big projects to save energy, labor and water.

“The sewer rate increase makes them justifiable,” said Carper’s letter.

The city agreed to charge the brewery 15 EDU’s per month until July 2014 so that the staff has time to design and implement cost and energy saving measures.