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Tualatin billboard M37 claim nixed

Zian Limited Partnership is expected to ask for an extension on its Measure 37 hearing

TUALATIN - Towering billboards as a result of Measure 37 claims won't be seen anytime soon in Tualatin. The Tualatin City Council agreed last week to direct the city staff to prepare a resolution denying the first Measure 37 claim to make it through the public hearing phase in the city.

Once adopted, the resolution will officially deny the claim made by Oregon-Washington Lumber Company, which sought $250,000 or the waiver of the city's development code that limits the size of billboards.

The lumber company was one of four property owners to submit M37 claims by December. (The Dec. 4 deadline was the last day M37 applications could be submitted without having to go through a jurisdiction's regular land-use process.)

In the company's claim, it stated that it wanted to increase the size of its billboards at two Tualatin sites - 17939 S.W. McEwan Ave. and 17805 S.W. 65th Ave. The April 9 hearing concerned the McEwan Rd. site. The company claimed that the city's development code, which limits the height and size of billboards, had created a loss of property value of $250,000 at each site.

Measure 37 requires governments to compensate property owners or waive property-value-reducing regulations that were enacted after the property owner purchased the land.

But according to the Tualatin city staff report, the company's M37 application did not meet certain requirements, such as proving that the claimant is also the current property owner, showing that the current owner purchased the land before the regulations were enacted and showing that the regulations have actually reduced the fair market value of the property.

No one from Oregon-Washington Lumber Company showed up at the public hearing on April 9.

But Tualatin resident Bonnie Peterson spoke against the claim. Though her home is nowhere near either of the two sites where Oregon-Washington Lumber wants to erect larger signs, Peterson said she was still concerned that M37 would be used as a way to dismiss all planning regulations.

'If we applied (Measure 37) to every planning area we have in the city, we really won't have any planning rules left,' Peterson said.

A M37 claim by Pascuzzi Investment LLC was also scheduled for April 9, but the public hearing was extended at the request of the claimant. The staff report, however, recommended that the council also deny Pascuzzi's claim. Pascuzzi is asking for the waiver of city development codes for three pieces of property - 10775, 10835 and 11045 Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road.

Zian Limited Partnership filed the largest M37 claim against the city for more than $1 million. Zian, which owns the Hedges Green shopping center along Tualatin-Sherwood Road, filed a claim for its 23.05 acres in Tualatin.

Zian is asking that the city waive regulations in the Tualatin Development Code and in the city's Comprehensive Plan.

Bob Durgan, vice president of Zian, said last month that Zian would also be asking for an extension of the M37 public hearing on the company's claim.

Durgan said that the company is waiting to see how bills proposed by legislators may affect the Measure 37 statute this year.