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Wallowa County Planning Director Franz Goebel reads from a report on possible rezoning of land near county airports he presented to the Board of Commissioners at a public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. The commissioners rejected the rezoning resolution 2-1.

ENTERPRISE — An amendment to a county ordinance that would have expanded permitted uses on land adjacent to airports in the county was denied Wednesday, Jan. 5, by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners.

The move came on a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner John Hillock voting against denying the amendment at the conclusion of a public hearing on creating an airport adjacent zone held after the board’s regular meeting.

County Planning Director Franz Goebel read a report from the county Planning Commission in which the planners recommended denial of the amendment.

“This is the second official hearing as required for an official amendment,” Goebel said. “The first was before the Planning Commission. In summary, their recommendation to the Board of Commissioners was to deny the application.”

In voting against denial of the amendment, Hillock said there is still information needed to determine how best to accomplish it.

“We need to do more research on this,” he said.

The request for the new zone was submitted by S&Z Properties LLC, represented by local attorney Rahn Hostetter.

Goebel said there have been multiple hearings on the amendment after which it was continued several times to gather more information, including from the Oregon Department of Aviation. He said both the ODA and the city of Enterprise have been opposed to the amendment.

He said the amendment would have applied not only to the commercial airports in Enterprise and Joseph but to private landing strips on private land in the county.

“The application was to create a new zone type that could be applied (for) by a landowner near an airport,” Goebel said. “The primary point of contention is that in their application, they included a residential element for apartments and condos near an airport, and that’s contrary to what the Oregon Department of Aviation believes is an allowable business.”

Goebel said that at this point, there has been no direction from the commissioners to rework the proposed amendment to address objectionable elements of it. It could be done, if S&Z Properties wishes to appeal it.

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