HSD Wins Appeal of 2 of Planning Commission’s Permit Conditions

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(Photo by Northeast Oregon Now)

The Hermiston School District successfully appealed two conditions of the Hermiston Planning Commission’s permit for an expansion to the Hermiston High School.

The Hermiston City Council heard the appeal during its regular meeting Monday night.

At issue were two conditions outlined in the planning commission’s approval. The district argued that Condition 7, which called for the school district to contribute an unspecified amount of money to the city’s future signalization project near the high school, lacked clarity.

The district also argued that Condition 9, which requires the district to develop 74 new parking spaces at the new softball fields, was unnecessary due to plans for new parking spaces as part of the new annex building.

The 2021 annex proposal by the district moves the parking from south of the fields to north of the existing W. Orchard Avenue parking lot and increases the number of new spaces from 74 to 134 – 60 more than the softball fields permit required.

“We recommend that the city council remove Condition 9 from the permit,” said Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer.

Spencer also recommended that the council amend Condition 7 and require the city and district to work out a specified financial contribution to the signalization project.

Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith said the district will likely agree to pay up to 25 percent of the estimated $1.5 million project.

“We’ve had several conversations, but still need to finalize the specific numbers,” Smith said.

Mayor Dave Drotzmann asked Spencer if he thought 25 percent was an equitable figure.

Spencer said that number was reasonable when taking into consideration the amount of non-school-related traffic that passes through the intersection on a daily basis.

The council voted unanimously to amend Condition 7 and remove Condition 9.

“I’m glad we were able to work out an amicable agreement that works well for the city and works well for the school district,” said Drotzmann.

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