Appeal Filed to Protect Josephine County Forest Land

Josephine County, Oregon––Rogue Advocates and 1000 Friends of Oregon have appealed a Josephine County land use decision to re-designate and rezone nearly 90 acres of forest land to rural residential to allow a residential subdivision with 5-acre minimum parcel sizes. Over 15,500 acres in Josephine County have already been re-designated as non-resource lands, with local decision-makers repeatedly failing to consider the cumulative effects of converting large amounts of agricultural and forest lands for residential uses. This substantial conversion of resource land has wide-scale impacts beyond the particular parcel being re-designated, such as increased fire hazard, destruction of wildlife habitat, and availability of water. Each local land use decision and each affected parcel matters in preserving the sustainability and livability of Josephine County in the face of extreme drought, extreme wildfire danger, and other impacts of climate change. 

The appeal, 1000 Friends of Oregon & Rogue Advocates v. Josephine County & Don Marvin, LUBA No. 2021-116, asserts that Josephine County’s decision was illegal on two major grounds: (1) the decision improperly underestimates the property’s forest production capability in order to justify its conversion for rural residential purposes; and (2) the County was required to undertake an exception to Goal 14, a central framework of Oregon’s statewide planning system that limits the urbanization of rural lands in Oregon, to allow a 5-acre minimum parcel size on land previously zoned as forest land. We are appealing to prevent this blatant disregard for the laws intended to protect Oregon communities and resource lands from unsustainable growth. 

The subject property is located approximately four miles northeast of the City of Grants Pass, between South Schoolhouse Road and Timber Lane. A decision from LUBA can be expected later this year.