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Housing plans creating concerns

Who is better than Wal-Mart for bringing low prices and jobs to our lower income, senior residents?

The Lake Oswego Development Review Commission is going to make it easier. They are willing to overlook an inept parking study and not require reasonable parking at a four-story, nearly 40,000-square-foot, 45-unit affordable housing development on a small, significantly treed lot in Lake Grove … all on a piece of property that could hold four homes if it were zoned single family residential.

The floor area of the proposed building will be approximately the same as the floor area of Albertsons on Boones Ferry Road, only it will be built on a piece of property that is 11 percent the size of the Albertsons property. It will have only 20 parking spaces, two of which are handicap, in an area that has been singled out for years as having a severe lack of parking. If this does not prove to be enough parking, the DRC has proposed that these elderly residents and their visitors can park a quarter mile away at the Lake Grove Presbyterian Church and walk to their apartments everyday, all year - no matter how dark or rainy.

Does anyone really see this as a practical, workable solution?

As neighbors, we find it incredulous that the city is willing to look the other way when it comes to holding this developer to the standards we hold for all other developers. Nor can we look the other way when the residents park on neighboring properties to avoid the long, cold, wet walks. There are opportunities to add parking to the development, expand the development to include a neighboring property or to reduce the number of residences to meet the parking that is currently planned.

We are appealing to the city to hold this development to the same standards as all of the other recent developments in the area, as well as to code. We must maintain the integrity of the process. We must not open the door to a precedent that will cause unintended consequences in the future.

We would hope that you would let your city council know that you are concerned and that they should assure this development is not allowed without assuring that it is compatible with the surrounding area and provides adequate parking for all of its residents.

We all agree that this is a good and noble idea. However, it will set a terrible precedent for the city when we are faced with deep-pocketed developers like Wal-Mart who will cite this decision as precedent to bypass parking and other codes for their conditional and incompatible uses by telling us they are also just trying to do the right thing for our elderly, low income citizens.

Jeff Novak, Lake Oswego, submitted this piece as an individual. However, he noted that he serves as chair of the Waluga Neighborhood Association, which is appealing this issue.