Planners mull development code changes


Last updated 4/23/2024 at 10:27am

The discussion of development code changes that would allow for a boutique RV Park at the former site of the Conklin Guest House on the corner of Barclay Drive and Camp Polk Road/Locust Street will carry into next month.

The Sisters Planning Commission continued their April 18 public hearing on the matter to May 16.

The changes, which would allow an RV park as a use in the Sun Ranch Tourist Commercial zone, would have to be in place before a formal plan for the site can be filed. The property developers propose a “boutique, higher-end RV Park that caters to the growing sector of the tourism industry that travels in RVs” to be sited on the property.

The code changes are suggested by the applicant.

The commissioners deferred full deliberations to the later meeting. Commissioner Tom Ries expressed reservations about including “RV Park” in the tourist commercial zone, noting that it is a fundamental change. He also noted that the proposed changes strike much of the original language of the code, and he would like more explanation of the rationale behind that.

“We should have some language in here that limits the stay, because we don’t want it to become a mobile home park,” Commissioner Art Blumenkron said.

He also said that there should be language that requires action to minimize impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

Public comment will remain open through the May 16 continued hearing. Several citizens testified at the hearing.

Regarding the code, Charlie Stephens, who said he was representing a small group of citizens in attendance, testified against making changes.

“The current code, from a community perspective, is quite good,” he said. “It’s quite adequate.”

He said the applicant “(has) removed the rationale for almost every other use from the code… we would suggest that an RV park is a rather inappropriate use for this particular piece of ground, especially in a city that’s evolving and is looking at expanding its urban growth boundary and if you look at the property around there, there will be neighborhoods within walking distance of that site.”

A resident of nearby Grand Peaks testified that an RV park is not compatible with residential neighborhoods.

Another citizen noted that the proposed development does not provide housing or employment opportunities for Sisters.

The applicant’s representative, Jon Skidmore, noted that, “This property is commercially zoned. It was never meant to be developed as housing. This property was brought into the City specifically for commercial purposes and it will be developed as such.”

Julie York, a resident of Grand Peaks, expressed concern about traffic.

“This isn’t normal vehicle traffic,” she said. “These are huge vehicles.”

As far as the formal planning process goes, specific development issues such as traffic impact are outside the scope of the code changes the planning commission is currently addressing. If the planning commission approves the code changes, the next steps for the developer would be to craft a detailed development plan for the property. It is at that point in the process that issues such as traffic and the specific proposed uses of the property would be up for discussion and debate.

Commission chair Jeff Seymour noted that the lines were getting blurred between the development code changes — the focus of the hearing — and potential plans for the development.

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Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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