Council ruling closes lid on town centers big box
Progress Ridge neighbors breathed a sigh of relief Monday night after the City Council blocked a land-use code change that would allow a big box retail store to be built in their backyard.
Residents Kim Levin and Sarah Yahna were happy after the council voted unanimously to overturn a Planning Commission recommendation that would allow individual retail businesses to have a building footprint of more than 50,000 square feet in the city's two Town Center Multiple Use zones.
The Town Center Multiple Use designation was first applied to land in the former Progress Quarry and then to a portion of the Teufel Nursery property along Barnes Road in Cedar Mill when it was annexed to the city in 2004.
The zoning was established in 1999 after an extensive two-year study and public process as part of the Murray Scholls Town Center Plan.
'It feels good to know that your hard work and involvement can make a difference,' said Levin, one of the two neighbors who appealed the Planning Commission recommendation.
During Monday's hearing, she told the council that a proposed 181,000-square-foot Fred Meyer store was too large for the Progress Ridge town center.
She also argued that changing the city's development code to accommodate one developer's project went against the spirit of the town center vision.
'We signed on for a town center and we were excited about that prospect,' Levin said. 'This was not what was promised.'
Yahna, the other appellant in the case, agreed.
She said that by preserving the commercial-use restrictions in the code, the council would ensure that the Progress Ridge property is developed in a way that would enhance and fit with the surrounding community.
'The council really listened to our concerns, had done their research ahead of time and asked excellent questions,' Yahna added.
Meanwhile, Fred Meyer representatives and the project's developer, Gramor Development of Tualatin, were left frustrated by the council's decision to side with neighbors in the matter.
'We plan to step back and regroup,' said Melinda Merrill, Fred Meyer's director of public affairs. 'This has been a long process.
'All along we've been trying to work with the city to develop a flagship store that would work well with this community. It would have been very high end and something that the community would have been proud of.'