Climbing group's B&B plans near Smith Rock spark debate

Bed and breakfast, campground sought

Potential bed and breakfast near...

TERREBONNE, Ore. - Smith Rock State Park is a popular spot for climbers and hikers, but a potential nearby development has some nearby residents worried. 

"There's nothing positive for the residents out of this proposed campsite and bed and breakfast," nearby resident Rick Guzman said. "Noise is a big one, and traffic is already a huge problem anyway."

A non-profit organization that promotes mountaineering education called The Mazamas hopes to establish a 32-person-maximum bed and breakfast and campground on the corner of Northeast Crooked River Drive and Smith Rock Loop in Terrebonne. 

The 2.5 acre property would host a single dwelling unit that could house eight people, six campsites, a parking lot, a composting toilet and landscaping. 

"The Mazamas started climbing at Smith in the 1930s and we have really been a part of Smith Rock climbing for 70 years," said Adam Baylor, the Mazamas stewardship and advocacy manager. "We have the opportunity to now develop this property."

The organization started discussing development around 2013 and had a review of their land use application to hear concerns and support from community members.

Baylor said the idea is to give visitors and climbers a way to do something other than just camp, but also be a part of a customized bed and breakfast that's peaceful and quiet. 

"You would have to check in as if you were going to a bed and breakfast, so it's not someplace where you are going to have a campfire, because it's going to be someplace that will be quick to get to," Baylor said. "You can reserve it ahead of time, and after you get done playing in the park, you can throw your stuff down and go to sleep."

About 20 people attended Tuesday night's Deschutes County Planning Commission meeting, and several of them spoke for and against the development. The county sent notice of the application to property owners within 250 feet of the property. About three letters were received in support of the proposal, but about 10 were received in opposition.

A majority who spoke in opposition said they're worried about added noise, traffic, treatment of wastewater, incompatibility of a campground in a rural residential neighborhood, and an increase of people in an overcrowded area. 

"It's literally a stone's throw away from the neighbors at Smith Rock Mobile Estates, and anyone who lives there knows the noise travels," Guzman said. "They cannot build a wall big enough to keep out the noise. It's just not possible."

Nearby residents remained wary of the benefits to their homes from the development. Those in favor said the property would ease overcrowding, and it would be a good resource for visitors. Baylor said The Mazamas want to work with neighbors to overcome both of their concerns. 

Both the applicant and those in opposition requested that the record remain open for more testimony. Testimony can be submitted until Aug. 22 and the applicant can respond until Aug. 29. 

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