News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor… 03/04/2020

To the Editor:

With great sorrow we watch as the star-filled nights of Sisters dim and fade into history.

The grandeur and beauty of this awesome mountain range will rise above — that’s if you can still see them. The incredible peace and quiet of the wilderness will remain — if you can still hear it. The pure cold waters and clean mountain air — the incredible wildlife still here — all are doomed.

Not long ago men and women of vision set aside these lands for future generations. We should honor and continue to invest in that vision. It is time to stop the unnecessary promotion of rabid growth in Central Oregon.

End of story.

Dave Elpi

To the Editor:

Jim Cornelius, the editor of The Nugget, has made an important point with respect to development in Sisters (The Nugget, February 19 page 2): If a developer acquires a piece of property with a certain zoning and prepares a project that meets the requirements of that zoning, then by state law the City must approve it. The city can approve it “with conditions,” but with persistence the developer will ultimately get his way.

The City cannot pick and choose projects per se. It cannot reject a project that is of no use to the city, is unwanted, or is not to the benefit of most of the citizens as long as it meets the requirements of the zoning. At that stage the City Council becomes a rubber stamp and citizens’ objections to the project are futile. Indeed, the notion of a “vision” for the development of the city becomes moot.

There is no brake on this process unless a group of organized citizens follow the development pipeline beginning with the zoning and question everything. How many of us have time for that? Meanwhile the pressure from developers is relentless and the planning commission tends to favor development as if it were a board game. This process is not followed precisely in certain other states, such as California (gasp).

There a City can reject tract housing, apartment complexes, and runaway strip malls despite the proffers of developers, albeit when it comes to zoning. So, unless Oregon’s zoning and land-use laws are changed to allow municipalities to really control their development by being able to be selective and to maintain their character, Sisters will devolve into a Beaverton.

The City Council took a step in that direction last week when it approved “with conditions” the Threewind project at the strip mall. This summer when the city is choked, we should remember this.

Gary Leiser


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