Summary Of Court of Appeals Ruling on Aurora Airport Master Plan
It takes a while to digest a legal ruling as long and dense as this one, and to understand the ramifications and impacts it carries. In the spirit of simplifying, below is a summary of the four main legal rulings, with the consequential impacts, and quotes from the Court of Appeals ruling.
1. The 2012 Master Plan was not properly approved and adopted. Therefore the current 2012 Master Plan is invalid and cannot be updated, requiring a new master plan!
…it is impossible to tell from the 2012 Master Plan what material was added and what was removed after 2011. LUBA erred in concluding that the 2012 Master Plan includes the 2011 Master Plan… the board never formally approved or adopted the 2012 Master Plan after October 27, 2011.
2. The master plan was never adopted into Marion County’s Comprehensive Plan, and achieving compliance in itself does not provide an exemption from statewide planning goals. Therefore airport master plans must comply with statewide planning goals to be valid!
The Master Plan proposes airport development on EFU land… LUBA misunderstood its task… But the question is not what the [Aviation] board’s development plans are; the question is what development the Master Plan proposes, and whether that development is consistent with the MCCP and the goals… the Board of Commissioners “acknowledges and supports” the 2012 Master Plan… is not a determination, formal or otherwise, of the plan’s compliance with the MCCP.
3. The airport and the proposed development (runway extension) are not rural uses. Therefore, ORS statutes cannot be misapplied to achieve desired outcomes!
ORS 836.640 does not apply… LUBA misconstrued the statute… The text does not suggest that the legislature intended any section of ORS 836.642 to affect how land use requirements apply to the programs or uses of land at the identified airports; to the contrary, it explicitly makes the programs subject to “applicable statewide land use requirements.
4. The development proposed (runway extension) permits service to a larger class of airplanes. Therefore, airport sponsors may not misrepresent FAA regulations for their benefit! LUBA adopted the reasoning in the response briefs and concluded, without elaboration, that the improvements contemplated by the 2012 Airport Plan do not permit service to a larger class of airplanes… an upgrade to design standards for a greater ARC or a longer runway to serve planes with greater MTOW [Maximum Take Off Weight] is an expansion or alteration that permits—authorizes—service to a larger class of airplanes. Accordingly, the Master Plan proposes an alteration or expansion of the airport that permits service to a larger class of airplanes.
Summary of the Ruling [Schaefer v. Oregon Aviation Board, 312 Or App 316 (2021)]
To summarize, LUBA erred in excluding the 2011 Master Plan—the Master Plan document that was before the board on October 27, 2011—from the record; in holding that the 2012 Master Plan did not propose airport development on EFU land; in relying on ORS 836.642 to conclude that proposed new uses at the Aurora State Airport are rural uses for land-use purposes; and in determining that OAR 660-012-0065(3)(n) applied.
Reversed and remanded.
You can download a copy of this Summary in PDF below, as well as copies of the three most recent print media articles