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HR Council Approves Lots 700 Zone Change Again

By a 4-2 vote, the Hood River City Council voted to approve changing the zoning for 2.76 acres of Lot 700 within Morrison Park for use as an affordable housing project, setting aside 45 percent for park and public facilities.  The Council made the decision at the conclusion of four hours of public hearing and deliberation of a remand of the panel’s original approval to change the zoning for just over five acres after the Oregon Court of Appeals found it did not meet a policy in the city’s comprehensive land use plan that calls for existing park sites to be protected from incompatible uses.  Before making the motion to approve, Councilor Kate McBride said housing was compatible with parks because it makes them more accessible to more people.  Erick Haynie and Tim Counihan voted no, with Haynie saying the “existing park sites” language in the comp plan, and Morrison Park’s inclusion on a list of city parks in the plan, led to his decision.  The Council vote came after a lengthy hearing that saw nearly everyone who testified calling for the park to be preserved as is.  The decision is subject to appeal to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.