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City rejects Fred Meyer gas station appeal

Pedestrian safety, traffic concerns and parking factored into denial of proposal


Citing concerns about pedestrian safety, traffic and parking concerns, the Beaverton City Council decided against a Fred Meyer fueling center on vacant property adjacent to its store near the junction of Southwest Canyon Road and Highway 217.

Representatives of Fred Meyer Stores went to the council meeting on Tuesday night to appeal a Sept. 25 decision by the Beaverton Planning Commission denying the company’s proposal to build a seven-pump, eight-lane fueling station on 12,000 feet of property just north of its Beaverton Town Center store. While denying the fueling center and a two-story retail/office building the company envisioned a developer building later, the commission approved the lot expansion and indicated Fred Meyer was free to appeal the decision.

Following a detailed discussion during Tuesday’s public hearing, the council in a 3-1 vote ultimately upheld the commission’s decision. Councilor Betty Bode voted against denying the appeal, and Councilor Ian King was absent.

Councilors expressed concerns about how the center would affect pedestrian safety, vehicular access and egress, traffic and parking in the congested area around the property, located near the Highway 217 on and off ramps.

“What concerns me is not that this wouldn’t be viable,” said Councilor Marc San Soucie. “I think a fueling station would be successful there. What concerns me is the combination of the two (projects).”

He and Councilor Mark Fagin specifically addressed concerns that pedestrians and exiting vehicular traffic onto Canyon Road wouldn’t mix well.

“I love the idea of building at that corner,” San Soucie said. “But I’m still struggling about how to make those buildings work together at that site.

“The trick here,” San Soucie noted, “is that this is a tight spot in a tight spot.”

In its appeal proposal, Fred Meyer representatives argued the Planning Commission overstepped its role by applying criteria to the entire two-phase build-out of the site — including the proposed two-story building — when the fueling center is the only part of the project the company has planned at this point.

“Right now, there is no real proposal for phase two,” said Steve Abel, an attorney representing Fred Meyer, arguing only a “shadow plan” is required. “It’s a concept ... The question is, is it conceptually possible to build a building in that location and meet the design standards? We think the answer is yes on that.”

Based on “floor-area ratio” standards in the zoned area, the fueling station — including a 53-foot by 129-foot canopy and an 8-foot by 30-foot cashier building — would not meet city code requirements for the first phase of the property’s development.

The council’s decision effectively removes the Canyon Road and Highway 217 site from further consideration for a Fred Meyer fueling station.

Before the public hearing closed, Beaverton resident Ramona Crocker encouraged the council and city officials to make a business-friendly decision and approve the appeal.

“In my opinion, if the city of Beaverton is sincere in its interest in expanding business in Beaverton ... I’m surprised so many obstacles are being put up for this established, longstanding business in its effort to be competitive in the marketplace,” she said.

Bode, the lone supporter of the fueling station plan appeal, called her decision a “tough call.”

“I think (San Soucie) got it right,” she said on Wednesday morning. “(The location) is just a tight spot. It’s too tight. If they weren’t going to build the (phase two) building there, it probably would’ve worked.”

When she realized fellow councilors were voting to deny the appeal, Bode said she “wanted to show support for business and convenience for citizens by giving a yes vote.”




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