Prineville pair files second M37 claim
By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: November 29. 2006 5:00AM PST
A Prineville couple upset with the outcome of their Measure 37 claim have filed a new claim seeking millions of dollars in compensation.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Grover Palin, 80, told councilors that he is withdrawing his original Measure 37 claim and filing another that seeks development rights for a diner and either a motel or condominiums on the 15-acre property he owns on the rimrock within the Prineville city limits. He said after the meeting that he has already filed a new claim with the state.
But Prineville City Attorney Carl Dutli said he’s not sure whether Palin can file a new claim.
The Prineville City Council decided last month to pay Grover and Edith Palin about $47,000 instead of allowing them to build a house near the edge of one of the rimrocks that overlook downtown Prineville – the first time since Measure 37 passed that a municipality compensated a claimant for his development rights instead of waiving land use regulations.
The Palins originally intended to build a three-bedroom home on a 2-acre section of their property that sits on top of the rimrock near Meadow Lakes Golf Course.
Now, they want to build a diner on top and either a 12-bedroom motel or eight condominiums on the part of the property that slopes down the hill toward Crestview Road, a development that would be worth at least $1.5 million, Grover Palin said.
“Edith and I wanted a retirement home; we didn’t get it, so now if we don’t get that we might as well see how much money we can get,” Grover Palin said. “I’m looking at pretty close to $5 million.”
Palin said he has already filed a new claim with the state and planned to submit the paperwork to the county this morning. At Tuesday’s meeting, he presented the mayor, city attorney and city manager with a copy of the new claim.
Edith Palin, 79, said she and her husband consulted with attorneys about the decision on their first Measure 37 claim. She added that attorneys would have charged several thousand dollars to contest the results of the first claim.
“If nothing else, we’re going to give (the City Council members) a headache,” she said. “We’re not just going to lay down and roll over.”
Dutli, the city attorney, said he is not sure the Palins have a legal right to refile their claim.
“My initial reaction is, once a decision’s been made I don’t think you can withdraw,” Dutli said. “It’s just common sense.”
But Dutli added that the applications of Measure 37 are still unclear, more than two years after voters passed it.
“The problem with Measure 37 is, What are the rules?” he said. “Hopefully the Legislature will do something this year, but who knows.”
Measure 37 allows property owners to seek a waiver of land use regulations or compensation for their development rights if a regulation enacted after they bought their land diminishes its value. The Palins bought their property in 1963; in 1978 Crook County adopted a comprehensive plan that included zoning and the requirement of a 200-foot setback from the edge of the rimrocks, the flat-topped cliffs that encircle the city.
The city has not paid the Palins any money yet because the council’s decision to award compensation was contingent on the property owners also securing a waiver of land use regulations from the state.
When they decided not to allow the Palins to build on top of the rimrock, council members said they thought they were acting in accordance with the wishes of the citizens of Prineville.
But the Palins said that no one showed up to the public hearings on the matter and that their neighbors have told them they would not mind a house there.
Prineville Mayor Mike Wendel said he considers the Palins’ decision to refile the claim “poor business.”
Grover Palin said he has “nothing to lose.” He already has several partners involved in the proposed business venture, he said.
“Forty-seven thousand dollars is nothing,” he said. “Let them see if they can come up with $1.5 million.”