In response to Rick Parfrey's citizen's view in the July 17 issue of the Review regarding 'Another Side of Oakridge Senior Housing Project,' I must once again emphasize that the Waluga Neighborhood Association, as well as other neighborhood associations, the LO Neighborhood Action Coalition and many individuals, oppose this development primarily because of building mass, height, size and deficient on-site parking spaces.
Remember Mr. Parfrey, that this is a conditional use request to build a 45-unit apartment building on a General Commercial (GC) zoned lot. The only way for which Northwest Housing Alternatives (NWHA) could even consider building their project on this parcel was to identify it as congregate housing, a type of housing allowed on a GC lot as a conditional use. Although, interesting enough, on NWHA's application and during the public hearings, they repeatedly referred this type of affordable housing as 'independent living,' while emphasizing that all apartments had it's own kitchen for which all tenants would be cooking on their own.
Multiple dwelling apartments, however, are not allowed on a GC-zoned parcel. Given that, the Development Review Commission found that though this congregate housing request had characteristics of multiple dwelling, it is not multi-family housing because 'of the nature of the occupants (those who have life functioning disabilities, due to age, medical, or mental conditions).'
Council ruled that age (62 or older) is a life functioning disability, which then conveniently supported the Congregate Housing definition.
I have attended several pre-application meetings regarding other proposed developments in and around our neighborhood. Each time the Lake Oswego planning staff has emphasized the parking space requirements to the developers. Why then, when a conditional use request to build a four-story, 45-feet-tall apartment building on a GC lot should the parking requirements and standards be any different? Making a huge assumption that low-income people who are 62 and older cannot afford to own cars is just another way to slip around the parking requirements.
I believe that the NWHA application for conditional use on a GC lot for a low-income senior apartment already has prompted too many conditions, exceptions and adjustments. We should expect a nice, well designed and scaled down apartment complex for low income seniors.
This development barely fits onto this small lot. Also we should expect that it has enough onsite parking for tenants, visitors and service vehicles without imposing an inconvenient shuttle service from a remote location. And take a look at the overflow parking that is occurring just around the corner on Quarry Road from the River West Church and East Waluga Park events. Low and behold, guess what?
Cheryl Uchida is a resident of Lake Oswego.