House Bill 2730, passed in the 2017 legislative session, allows a golf course to be sited on certain high-value farmland if the golf course is west of Highway 101 and is surrounded on all sides by an approved golf course. Does this description sound familiar? It should. Sponsored by local Rep. David Brock Smith, the special-interest law was written specifically for the proposed Pacific Gales course, and it amends agricultural land rules to permit this exception.
Given that the permit allowing a course on the Knapp Ranch in the first place has apparently expired, the new rule may be moot. Nevertheless, the Department of Land Conservation and Development needs to hear what citizens think of eroding protections on this category of farmland — especially for a golf course.
Here is the text to be added to OAR 660-033-0130 as Section 18(d):
(d) Subject to the requirements of sections (5) and (20) of this rule, a golf course may be established on land determined to be high-value farmland as defined in ORS 195.300(10)(c) if the land:
(i) Is not otherwise high-value farmland as defined in ORS 195.300(10);
(ii) Is surrounded on all sides by an approved golf course; and
(iii) Is west of U.S. Highway 101.
Send written comments on the proposed rule by January 26 to:
Rules Coordinator, Department of Land Conservation and Development
635 Capitol St., Ste. 150
Salem, Oregon 97301
Or via email to: email@example.com