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A crowd of Powell Butte residents voice opposition to proposed destination resort

Powell Butte residents took their first opportunity to voice opposition to a proposed destination resort at a Crook County Planning Commission hearing last Tuesday evening.

The hearing was held at Carey Foster Hall, a departure from the typical planning commission meeting venue, in order to accommodate a large crowd. About 200 people attended, all of whom appeared to oppose the proposed resort.

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 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 resort siting standards.

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.

The golf course that was initially approved has been dropped other changes were made that would affect the residential and overnight lodging units originally proposed. The modified application calls for 400 vacation villas, 200 overnight rental cabins, 50 overnight seasonal rentals and 100 workforce housing units.

The applicant, Craig Kilpatrick, opted not to present at the meeting and instead requested a continuance in August that would allow more time to prepare for the hearing. The planning commission ultimately granted the continuance, scheduling hearings for Aug. 24 and 25, once again at Carey Foster Hall.

Although the applicant chose not to present the proposal, audience members were invited to voice their views on the project. Their testimony filled roughly 90 minutes of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour session. Opponents of the project expressed worries about how the resort would affect traffic on Parrish Lane and Highway 126, roads they contended are already overloaded with traffic. Several visitors raised concerns about the resort drawing down the groundwater in the area while others wondered how the wastewater from the resort would get managed.

County planning department staff noted that the applicant will have to work with state agencies on all water and wastewater matters. The applicant must work with the Oregon Department of Transportation on any traffic impact to the highway.

A concern was also raised about how the resort would affect the available electricity in the Powell Butte area.

In addition to infrastructure concerns, multiple residents voiced frustration that the addition of a resort would disrupt the cowboy and farming and ranching way of life in Powell Butte and turn it into a community similar to Bend.

The county planning staff plans to upload new information on the proposal, as it receives it, to the planning department website. The planning commission will continue to keep the record open, allowing people to continue to provide written testimony on the proposal. And people will once again have the opportunity to voice concerns at the continued hearing in late August.

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