Pacific Rogue Ranch
Western Land Use Services Memorandum

October 5, 2003
 
The Property
Pacific Rogue Ranch is in a word, Magnificent. Nearly 600 acres in size, it has frontage along the Rogue River and sprawls up and over coastal hilly terrain southerly from that River and easterly from the Pacific Ocean. Elevations rise from essentially sea level along the River to 1,100 feet. That rise in land surface is accompanied by many undulations and small drainages evident in the topography.

From this hilltop Preserve, you cannot see the secluded cabin in the Rogue River canyon where Sane Grey spent many days during the middle of the last century composing, fishing and enjoying the company of famous guests. But every year the salmon remember where they must go. During several runs every year they swim past the Preserve on their way up stream along the Rogue to the many small tributaries and quiet secluded holes and gravel bars where they were spawned and survived to mature. There is little if any physical evidence of the intense mining and gold panning activity of the past 150 years. But the name of the adjacent small city, Gold Beach, is a reminder of that vibrant history.

The views form this property are just plain gorgeous and incredible. No matter the direction. From several western areas of the Preserve the City of Gold Beach lies below you nestled between you and the beach of the Pacific Ocean. That beach is a half mile distant; the Pacific Ocean stretches before you with vistas of the rocky Southern Oregon Coast stretching north and south. To the north the Rogue River lies below you with human activity bustling at its mouth adjacent to the City; and, the land surface rising again to hilly grassy and forested landscapes across the River and further north. Eastwardly you witness rising topography of the Coastal Mountain range with forested vistas in abundance as you gaze up the Rogue River toward the canyons and wild lands.

Existing Zoning:
Despite these obvious amenities, the property is currently not zoned for development purposes. Rather it is zoned as resource land. Resource lands such as farm and forest areas are highly protected from development by Oregon and local law. The property is zoned Forestry Grazing (FG) by Curry County law. This zone is one of the most restrictive zones. The County Zoning Ordinance indicates this zone is applied to resource areas of the County where the primary land use is commercial forestry with intermixed agricultural uses for livestock grazing. The purpose of this zone can be paraphrases as to implement forest and farm policies of the Comprehensive Plan which basically were intended to keep the land in resource use. Not much development can be accomplished under the FG zone.

Potential Physical Hazards:
Steep Slopes exist on portions of the property offering design and engineering challenges and extra expense for development. Earth flow and Slump topography are potential restraints to development which were mapped in the early 1970s by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries along the south central portions of the property. That study also mapped this restraint over much of the southern Oregon coastal area. Development permits where this type topography is mapped may be conditioned upon review by an engineering geologist.

Hilly Terrain will require greater lengths of roads at higher levels of engineering and construction costs than would flat land. [Note: In reality, there is little flat topography along the southern Oregon Coast.]

Long Term Benefit to the Community of Gold Beach:
High level development of this property will undoubtedly add jobs and business activity to the community. It is likely the City would be in favor of such a proposal. It is also likely in the case the City was not in favor of such a proposal that the proposal would not gain approval.

Long Term Benefit to Oregon Land Use Planning Law Concepts
Guiding development onto this property places future development in the vicinity of and adjacent to an existing city. This idea is in concert with the historic concept of Oregon land use planning law which is generally conceded to guide future development into and along side already developed areas (such as the City of Gold Beach). The concept has been to do this so that facilities and services will not have to be developed where they do not exist (thus saving costs); and, to protect outlying resource lands (farm and forest) from the impacts of new urban level uses in their midst.

Generalized Description of Options:
Status Quo – Four Single Family Dwellings:
Curry County Planning Director, Mr. Young, indicates the Department can issue a total of four (4) single family dwelling permits on the property. One permit for the northerly parcel lying along Jerry’s Flat Road and one permit each for areas of a minimum of 180 acres which is the minimum lot size of the FG zone.

Existing Acreage plus Additional Land Purchase – Seven Family Dwellings:
Mr. Young indicates the Department can issue a total of seven (7) single family dwelling permits given additional land purchase. One permit for the northerly parcel lying along Jerry’s Flat Road. Each of the six other existing tax lots could be issued a single family dwelling permit if additional land, that has the same zone applied, were purchased and owned by the same owner so as to bring that ownership up to or exceeding 200 acres as allowed under the terms of the Ordinance. The additional land need not be contiguous and may be in an adjacent county. Deed restrictions would be required tying the total properties together for purposes of the dwelling permit. [Note: It would be wise to carefully consider the wording and purpose of required deed restrictions before considering this as a holding pattern for more intense development in the future. You don’t want to shoot any long range plans in the foot.]

Changing of Zone
The process for changing the current Forestry Grazing zone to some other zone would entail the Exception process set out in Statewide Planning Goal 2. The Goal 2 Exception procedure requires proof that land which is zoned for resource use (Forestry Grazing in this case) is either not suitable for the resource or that the land is committed to some other use. The task would be to prove the land cannot produce forest products. Since this land is covered predominantly with trees and because it has a history of logging activity, this might be difficult to prove. It might be plausible to base an application for exception on the relationship of the property to the City of Gold Beach and surrounding area being committed, over the long run, to some other use.

Amendment to Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)
An Urban Growth Boundary is a line all cities in Oregon are required to have established around a city. The purpose of this line is to guide future urban growth and development around the city. It separates urban uses from rural uses. An option for development of the property would be to pursue an amendment to the boundary to include portions of the property. UGB amendments are handled similarly to zone changes and also require agreement and mutual adoption of both City and County. Perhaps the best approach here would be to attempt UGB amendment for forty or fifty acres initially along the Rogue River side or the vicinity of the south east portion. Getting acreage inside the boundary opens the door to urban zoning and uses for annexation to the City which can also allow municipal sewer service. The process, as are other processes discussed here, is lengthy and often times difficult. Close coordination with the City and its staff is necessary during this process.

Destination Resort
Destination Resorts provide recreational opportunities and comfortable, relaxed accommodations in a natural setting.

There are two approaches and both are very involved and long term. One is determined by following the Statewide Planning Goal 8 and the other is by following the Goal 2 Exception process. Neither is simple, however it is generally held that the Goal 8 process is of less difficulty and the less erroneous of the two.

The Goal 8 process requires a county to produce and adopt mapping which identifies areas ineligible for destination resort citing. These areas are to be delineated on the basis of the occurrence of high value soils and wildlife habitat and other criteria. The land area not so mapped then becomes eligible for consideration of destination resort use. The mapping may be accomplished county wide or over selected areas. Curry County would probably not do this mapping itself but would consider allowing a landowner or developer to do the mapping for it. Then proceed with processing an actual application for destination resort.

Again, the Goal 2 Exception procedure requires proof that land which is zoned for resource use (Forestry Grazing in this case) it either not suitable for the resource or that the land is committed to some other uses as indicated above. There are minimum qualifications as to what constitutes a destination resort. For instance the rules require a minimum investment of seven (7) million dollars. Such things as the restaurant space and ratio of housing to hotel or resort accommodations are regulated. Destination resorts are to have recreation as the main focus.

 
Images  |  Parcel Information  |  Development Analysis Report  |  Home Page  |  Contact Us