Douglas County ponders 20-acre rural housing sites

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Commissioners in Douglas County are pondering a plan to earmark nearly 35,000 acres of farmland and forestland for 20-acre rural housing sites.

The Capital Press reports Thursday that the plan would designate the area as “non-resource transitional lands” to meet a demand for so-called “rural lifestyle” homes.

The proposal worries state land use regulators and groups that seek to preserve farmland.

Greg Holmes, Southern Oregon advocate for the 1,000 Friends of Oregon, says there isn’t evidence backing up the idea that there is a demand for such large rural lots.

State regulators say the designation is a misapplication of state land use provisions that were intended for operations such as vineyards — but not rural housing.

County authorities say the proposal is an attempt to stop unplanned sprawl outside cities.