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Powell Butte residents pushing back against the Crossing Trails destination resort

An application filed to modify an approved destination resort in Powell Butte has drawn opposition from a number of area residents.

The original application for the Crossing Trails destination resort, which was filed in 2008, proposed a resort on a 580-acre piece of land northeast of the Wiley Road and Parrish Lane intersection, about six miles west of Prineville.

The resort application was filed and considered during a unique time in Crook County's history, when destinations resorts came under fire. The County Planning Commission held multiple hearings on the application between April and August, and then deliberated at two public meetings in early September, concluding that the resort met all applicable destination report siting standards.

About one month later, the Crook County Court — then comprised of Judge Scott Cooper and Commissioners Mike McCabe and Lynn Lundquist — unanimously approved an ordinance that removed the county's destination resort overlay map, effectively preventing any new resorts from being approved in the county for three years.

However, the ordinance included a provision that allowed property underneath three existing resorts and Crossing Trails, which had preliminary approval, to remain mapped and therefore unaffected by the ordinance.

The planning commission approval of Crossing Trails was appealed, and the county court subsequently reviewed the application. They approved it in early January 2009.

More than a decade later, the destination resort application has emerged as the applicant seeks approval of a modified version of the original.

"They are removing a golf course that was approved initially and making some changes to their commercial and recreational facilities," explained Crook County Planning Director Will Van Vactor, clarifying that the changes would affect the residential and overnight lodging units proposed.

Even though initial approval of the resort was granted 13 years ago, Van Vactor said it won't be necessary for the planning department to completely start the application process over from scratch.

"But it does require land use process," he said. "Staff is currently reviewing the application and preparing a staff report."

The modified application calls for 400 vacation villas, 200 overnight rental cabins, 50 overnight seasonal rentals and 100 workforce housing units. The planning commission has been made aware of the application modification and the application has been posted to the planning department website, but no hearings have yet been held and no notice has been sent to area residents.

However, residents living near the proposed resort site have already spoken out against it, submitting letters of opposition to the planning department.

"I believe the land should stay the way it is. We already have Brasada (Ranch) 10 minutes down the road that is a resort," Keeli Usher wrote. "I don't think Powell Butte needs another. There will be too much traffic, as there is plenty as it is…You are going to be pushing more farmers and ranchers out of their homes, their lives, the ownership of land."

Karen Barker said she moved to the area from the Willamette Valley seven years ago "in order to escape the chaos and to live in a serene environment."

"Putting in yet another resort is simply stupid," she added.

Several letters addressed concerns ranging from water use to traffic impact. Mark Motsko wrote that adding another 750 housing units as projected "would require significant improvements to Highway 126 for structural and safety requirements."

Sylvia Sauer stated that "adding a destination resort such as this will not help our water shortage…"

In addition to the written testimony, area residents held a mid-June meeting in Powell Butte, where Crook County Court officials fielded questions and concerns about the proposed resort.

The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the application on July 27 and 28 at Carey Foster Hall. Both sessions are scheduled from 5:30-8 p.m.

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