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The Junction City, Ore., city council Tuesday (Aug. 23) voted unanimously for a zoning change that clears the way for motorhome builder Country Coach Inc. to expand its manufacturing facilities on land adjacent to its current campus.
According to the Register Guard, only one person testified against the proposal during a public hearing. After asking a few questions to representatives from Country Coach, a subsidiary of Perris, Calif.-based National RV Holdings Inc., the council approved the amendment to the city’s comprehensive land use plan with little discussion.
“I believe Country Coach has done fantastic for Junction City,” Mayor Larry Crowley said. “To us and the planning commission this is a real major step and I think everyone takes it very seriously.”
Councilor Dave Brunscheon also complimented the company.
“There was a lot to read,” he said of the planning commission’s packet detailing recommended conditions of approval. “There’s a lot of bureaucracy, there’s a lot you have to deal with and I do think you are trying to deal with those things.”
The planning commission recommended that the council approve Country Coach’s application in July after two meetings and numerous staff hours refining wording on the conditional use permit.
The approval means 74 acres of farmland directly east of Country Coach’s current facilities will be rezoned light industrial and the company can build a new plant and have room for other future expansions.
The land use advocacy group 1000 Friends of Oregon submitted a letter opposing the proposal, but no member of the group testified at the hearing.
The planning commissioners spent much time in their June and July meetings discussing traffic issues and came up with a condition, which the council approved, that no shift changes may take place between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
A traffic study led by Country Coach engineer Jim Hanks helped conclude those were peak traffic hours during which the RV manufacturing plant would adversely affect traffic.
The company also must plant fast-growing trees on the southern 200 feet of the property, leave an 80-foot buffer on the northern side of the site undeveloped, and replace wetlands filled in during construction. Any new construction will require a site plan review with the planning department.
Country Coach President Jay Howard spoke during public testimony of the need for a contiguous campus. In the past two years the company has doubled its business and having a site to continue to grow will allow the company to stay competitive, he said.
“We would like to grow here in Junction City,” he said. “We literally make twice as many motorhomes as we did 18 months ago.”