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CUP denied for Christmas Valley composting site

Lake County Planning Commissioners denied a conditional use permit application for a proposed North Lake composting facility at their Tuesday, May 21, meeting held in Christmas Valley.

The Commissioners voted 6-1 to deny the permit application submitted by Larry and Cindy Morrison of Tualatin, who sought to establish a composting facility at the site of the former Oil Dri kitty litter plant.

Each of the Commissioners cited varied reasons for denial, including widespread community concerns, which primarily centered on potential odor and environmental issues and the plant’s proposed location.

“I think one of the most important things in any good business is location, location, location,” said Planning Commission Vice-Chair John Flynn, “and it looks to me like we don’t have a good location.”

Tom Burkholder, chairman of the commission, cast the solitary vote in support of the application.  He said he felt that an agreement could have been reached in overcoming the obstacles related to the project.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Larry Morrison said he has no plans to appeal the decision.  He attended the meeting and provided his testimony to ensure he pursued all avenues in pursuit of the permit.

“I just wanted to get my money’s worth,” he said.

Morrison also said he felt supporters of the project faced considerable pressure by the project’s opponents.

Nearly two and a half hours of public testimony preceded the Planning Commission’s decision. Local residents packed the Christmas Valley Community Hall for the meeting, with a large contingency offering their public testimony.

The public hearing segment was continued from the Commission’s Tuesday, April 16, meeting in Lakeview at which time it received some 21 letters of opposition to the CUP application.

Larry Morrison, the project’s proponent and CUP applicant, spoke first, providing an overview of the proposed project.  He said that the permit had been changed to allow Type 2 feedstock instead of the initial Type 3 component.Morrison said he felt eliminated a lot of the public’s concerns.

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