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Troutdale neighbors irate over proposed condos

Residents pool resources to pay $1,800 fee for appeal
by: John Klicker, Kristy Curletto and a group of concerned neighbors have appealed a developer’s plan to build 19 condominiums down the street from their neighborhood.

TROUTDALE - When Kristy Curletto and her husband, Vinny, moved into the Sedona Park neighborhood three years, they felt that the 51-home subdivision was a good fit for their family.

They had grown up in East County, and knew they wanted to stay in the area. They liked the quiet, cul-de-sac-like atmosphere in the tiny neighborhood and enjoyed the view from their second-story windows.

Things changed when a neighbor stopped by last December to tell Kristy about a proposed condominium development that could be put in down the street, near the northeast corner of the neighborhood.

Residents were stunned that they hadn't previously been made aware of the possible development, as city officials only alerted those individuals who legally had to be notified.

Members of the Troutdale Planning Commission approved the proposed Tyson's Place development at a June 21 meeting.

'From that point forward, it was, how do we get them to stop?' Curletto said.

A group of concerned Sedona Park residents banded together to appeal the planning commission's June 21 decision to allow the property owner, David Grey, to build 19 condos on the 1.5-acre lot.

The neighbors' stand on the issue has brought them together as a community. Most families in the 51-home neighborhood contributed $37 to help pay the $1,800 fee to file the appeal.

In their appeal, the residents raised six concerns, the first about the increased traffic the development would bring to the neighborhood.

The proposed development would sit at the northeast corner of the neighborhood and abut Southwest 257th Avenue, which Multnomah County owns.

Despite the property's close proximity to the major arterial, access to the site will be through the Sedona Park neighborhood.

Multnomah County regulations dictate that if a property 'has frontage on two … or more roads, then access must come from the lower classification street, which is the local street,' said Rich Faith, Troutdale's community development director.

In this case, 257th Avenue is considered a major arterial, where as Edgefield Avenue is a local street, Faith said.

County officials also cite potential safety hazards, such as the curve in the road, the speed of travel and sight distance problems as reasons that access from 257th Avenue would not be a good option, Faith said.

Despite this, neighbors like Curletto, who has three children ages 2, 8 and 13, are still concerned about the safety of area residents, as one estimate showed the condos could generate as many as 118 trips through the neighborhood each day.

'In any neighborhood where there is change, people freak out,' Curletto said.

Curletto however, is quick to say that the group is 'not an angry mob of neighbors.' The residents are just frustrated and concerned about the impact the development could have on the neighborhood.

When she was first told about the possible development, Curletto, like many of the others in the neighborhood, was skeptical that there would even be room for an access road to the site.

Most of the residents were unaware that a lot-line adjustment was made in 2002 to incorporate an additional 275 square feet of space to allow for access to the lot.

Since conversations started among the residents about the possible development, all but one of the families along Edgefield Avenue have moved, Curletto said.

In their appeal, the Sedona Park residents also addressed concerns related to the slope of the land, including the stability of the soil and the potential for increased stormwater runoff, Faith said.

Although they understand that the property owner has the right to develop the land, residents say, ideally, they would like to see the property as open space.

'I would have loved to be able to have it as a park,' Curletto said, noting the beauty of trees that are growing on the property.

Curletto, who sat through the incredibly long appeal before the City Council with her 8-year-old son on Tuesday, July 25, said she felt the councilors were willing to work with the residents on this issue.

At the end of the meeting, the City Council directed staff members to hire an independent engineer to review the geo-technical reports that were prepared for the developer. The councilors also asked that city officials meet with county transportation representatives to discuss the possibility of access to the site from 257th Avenue.

'The city was very open to suggestions and trying to make this work,' Curletto said.

The city's findings will be presented at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15.

If you go

What: A special City Council meeting to discuss an appeal filed by residents of the Sedona Park neighborhood to stop a 19-unit condominium development from being built off of Southwest Edgefield Avenue.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Where: Council chambers, Troutdale City Hall, 104 S.E. Kibling Ave.

For more information: Call Troutdale City Hall at 503-665-5175.