Mazama Ranch Development by Smith Rock Approved—Decision Final Unless Timely Appealed

October 19, 2017

Back in early August, the Mazamas Foundation plan to develop a B&B/Campground aka "Mazama Ranch" on a 2.5-acre parcel adjacent to Smith Rock State Park was presented to the public for input at a Deschutes County Planning Commission meeting. An appeals process closed public input on August 29, 2017. The 58-page Hearings Officer Decision essentially grants approval with some conditions to the proposed plan. Only those "who have standing"—either submitted written or oral testimony may appeal by October 23, 2017.

Mazama Ranch Proposed Development Project Site- click to enlarge- (please note drawing is not final and from Planning Commission meeting presentation)

Some of the issues brought up by objectors to the development included precedent, existing Mazama practices, legal status, and survival of landscaping. 

These issues were addressed as follows by the Hearings Officer:

  • Precedent:  Essentially, addressing the fear of future developments altering the character of the area, the report concludes "Each property presents its own factual circumstances as does each neighborhood."
  • Existing Mazama Practices:  Concerns of the Mazamas bringing too many people to the park for classes and climbing tours was seen as only relevant to the park itself. "The State has expressed no concerns."
  • Legal Status:  Concerns regarding the adjacent property's interests that may be impaired by the development the report simply states "...the applicant has demonstrated compliance with the applicable land use standards."
  • Survival of Landscaping:   Concerns that critical landscaping as noise and development view buffers may die were addressed by a licensed landscape contractor survey and replanting "starting on the first anniversary of the opening of the campground, and each year for three years thereafter." 


The 2200 square foot proposed B&B will have 3 guest rooms, accommodating a maximum of 8 guests and an on-site caretaker. The campground will have 6 campsites, with 2 tent sites per campsite, for a total of 12 campsites and a maximum of 24 people. 

In total, the Mazama Ranch proposal accommodates 32 guests between its B&B and campground. With the restrictions below, the campground will lose 2 people from 2 tent sites, so a maximum of 28 guests is approved.

The application's approval conditions include 26 points on multiple pages. Some of the highlights:

  • sufficient buffer zones with landscaping and fencing, with the landscaping condition report in effect for 3 years after the first anniversary)
  • elimination of the compost toilet (although there was room left to revisit in the future)
  • limiting 2 of the campsites to 1 tent each (reducing 24 people to 20)
  • paved vs decomposed granite walkways
  • inn provides a complimentary breakfast daily
  • no amplified music, pets, or fires on the premises
  • outdoor gathering space only for meals and informal gatherings—no events, including classes, entertainment or other activities
  • quiet hours are 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM; lights out 10:00 PM
  • entrance to the parking lot gated or chained and secured from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM daily
  • each guest signs a document outlining the rules
  • a person will be available at all times the site is open for business (this is not defined if applies to after "lights out" time) to receive telephone complaints/concerns about the operation of the facility, including disturbances. Voicemail is not acceptable. Each complaint and its resolution shall be logged in detail and available to the County for inspection on request. Contact info shall be prominently displayed on the Ranch website and at the entrance to the parking lot. 

Have an objection to the approved development AND you "have standing" as defined in the opening paragraph? You've only until 12 days from the mailing of the decision, or October 23. 

This form is all set up to email directly to the Deschutes County Planning Commission.  Have questions about the decision? Call this guy. Anthony Raguine, Senior Planner at Deschutes County Community Development Center at 541-617-4739. 

click to enlarge (please note drawing is not final and from Planning Commission meeting presentation)

click to enlarge (please note drawing is not final and from Planning Commission meeting presentation)