Whisnant says he has already decided to remove the most controversial part of the bill, which would have set up a sanitary authority to help with septic issues. That was a touchy topic for residents who fear the costs and development they say sewers could bring. Despite Whisnant’s concession, however, the opponents keep at it — and it turns out they’ve been noticed.
On Tuesday, Rep Brian Clem, D-Salem, chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, said that committee staff have received more calls on HB 3347 than on any other before their committee — which is saying a lot, given recent hearings having to do with hot-button bills about wolves. Most of the calls are in opposition, according to Clem.
Residents are calling Clem’s committee because it’s where HB 3347 sits now, awaiting a hearing. Clem and committee staff are trying to find a good time for an evening hearing so more Deschutes County residents could come out.
The bill would provide $3 million over an estimated 10 to 20 years to help with septic issues. It remains controversial not only because its early incarnation touched a nerve, but because it continues to exempt the development from land use laws that require the developer pay to offset impacts, such as to the area’s transportation system.