Awhile back, I posted parts of a story about my friend K7JB and his quest to
get permission to put up a new 70 foot tower in Washington County, Oregon.
Things have gotten real tough here and the County Commissioners have raised
all the fees for Count "Services" to outrageous new highs. For example, if
you want to put up a tower that is 60 feet high (the highest allowed tower
in Washington County without a "Hardship Vairance" in which case you can go
72 feet), the County insists on doing a study to determine the impact on the
neighborhood and they require the tower applicant to pay for a "Development
Permit" which costs about $1500. There is no guarentee they will allow the
tower and the money is not refundable. Assuming you get past the study with
approval, there is still the building permit to buy, which can be another
several hundred dollars.
If you ask why these permits are so expensive, my personal opinion is that
it is a reaction by the County Commissioners to a "tax revolt" going on in
Oregon. The citizens of Oregon REFUSE to pass a sales tax in addition to
already existing high property taxes and high state income taxes. The
County, of course, claims they are simply billing the cost of the process to
the one who benefits.
I have to take serious exception to the County's view of who is benefiting
from such a Development Review. It certainly is NOT the ham. If there is
ANY benefit at all, it must be to the neighbors of the ham or perhaps the
entire County. To be consistent, it would seem the County, or at least the
neighbors, should pick up the tab for the Development Permit. If I were
applying for a tower building permit, I would prefer it if NO Developemnt
Review were done at all. So how would a Development Review benefit me?
It turns out there is actually a bright side to all of this. K7JB has been
through the Development Permit and Hardship Variance stages sucessfully and
if no complaints are filed by his neighbors within the next 10 days, they
will issue his building permit. Now here is the "new twist" I had not heard
of until yesterday: K7JB tells me it will cost his neighbors $760 to file a
complaint!! Of course, that fee is not refundable either, and there is no
guarentee the County will act in the neighbor's favor, in fact, they will
act in K7JB's favor unless something significant and unforeseen comes up in
It will be interesting to see what the neighbor's reaction to this will be . . .
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