Attorneys from Portland intend to challenge the new siting laws for wind farms Umatilla County approved last month.
Garvey Schubert Barer Law filed a notice of intent to appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals on Tuesday. It challenges three of the motions county commissioners approved on June 28: the approval of the new wind rules, an approval of a two-mile setback for wind turbines, and special rules for the Walla Walla River watershed.
The petitioners are Robert and Cheryl Cosner, but attorney Carrie Richter said others might join in the challenge.
The firm didn’t have a formal statement on its intent in the appeal, Richter said. It is still identifying issues and forming a strategy.
The notice of intent to appeal puts in motion steps in the LUBA process, each one lasting a minimum of 21 days.
The first step is allowing anyone to join the appeal, officially called intervening.
After those first 21 days are up, the county has 21 days to send records related to the decision on the wind rules, said Kristi Seyfried, executive support with LUBA.
That could take some doing. More than 150 exhibits were submitted during the public hearings leading up to the commissioners approving the wind rules. Umatilla County Attorney Doug Olsen said the county planning department will have to make copies and send them to LUBA.
When asked if that could be done in 21 days, he said: “I doubt it. We will probably ask for an extension.”
After the county has submitted its information, the petitioner has 21 days to file its brief. Then the county has 21 days to respond with its brief. What the county says, Olsen said, will depend on what is alleged in the petitioner’s brief.
Then LUBA sets a time for oral arguments. After those arguments, LUBA issues a decision within three to four weeks.
Normal cases take between three and six months to complete, Seyfried said, but with any requests for time extensions within those steps, it could take longer.
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