Lake Oswego developer in the middle of spat with city on plans for property
Luxury home developer Jeff Parker has applied to remove five trees from his property at 1500 North Shore Road in Lake Oswego, despite years of failed attempts to clear his front yard for a circular driveway.
The tree removal application is the latest in a lengthy saga that has made Parker's personal home the test case for Lake Oswego's development limits.
Parker's initial proposal was to build a 12,000-square-foot home on Oswego Lake, much of it on submerged pilings. That idea threatened to obstruct views of the lake from the neighboring Forest Hills Easement and, in 2004, members of the easement began an aggressive campaign to rein in the size of the development.
Although the scope of the project has since been beat back - the home is under construction at 8,600 square - skirmishes continue out on the lawn.
Lake Oswego's tree code has laid the battlefield for much of the fighting. Parker originally sought to remove 37 trees, but city planners allowed only 17, kicking off a series of appeals that drew dozens of neighbors out to public hearings.
Amid the appeals, Parker earned $28,555 in fines for tree code violations on the lot. Facing continued pressure from neighbors, Parker entered into a settlement with the Forest Hills Easement Association March 2006 in an apparent truce.
In the agreement, easement members dropped their opposition to the removal of 14 trees, allowing development to go forward.
But Parker was back at city hall in November 2007 with an application to remove another 16 trees. City planners denied the request. Subsequent tree code violations earned Parker another $3,800 in fines and the city issued a restraining order to protect the trees.
Parker's arborist, Terrence Flanagan, said this most recent effort to remove trees differs from previous requests, according to application papers. The new plan proposes arborists supervise driveway construction and save more trees.
But opponents to the tree-removal request say city planners have already denied removal of the five trees and that Parker is abusing the application process.
Lake Oswego City Attorney David Powell said planners were reviewing the application but would be unlikely to reverse a previous ruling if circumstances remain the same.
'Each application is entitled to its comment period. Staff doesn't just openly reject these out of hand,' he said.