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Malheur County moves ahead to permit homes on marginal farmland

Shawna Peterson, chair of the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board, says her board felt it's important for the new zoning process to be well defined. (Enterprise/File)

VALE – A $50,000 infusion from the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board will help the county implement a zoning change to allow inferior farmland to be converted for residential homes.

Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale and passed in July clears the way for two-acre lots with no more than 200 acres total to be set aside for houses. Under the plan, property would be rezoned from farming under 15 benchmarks that must be met.

The Malheur County Court will appoint a four-member board of local residents to evaluate such decisions.

The legislation also requires a public hearing on each . . .