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Cedar Mill groups appeal calls for overturning Wal-Mart vote

Members of Save Cedar Mill have appealed the June 1 Beaverton Board of Design Review approval of an application to build a 152,308-square-foot Wal-Mart store at the intersection of Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard and Barnes Road.

Representatives of the 4,000-member citizens group filed the appeal petition Friday. It was the only appeal of the board's decision filed by Monday afternoon's deadline.

Beaverton's City Council will hear the appeal July 10 and 11 at City Hall, 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive.

The citizens group wants the council to overturn the Board of Design Review decision. The board voted 6 to 1 to approve the plan after more than 10 hours of hearings and testimony on the project during two days in early May.

Beaverton annexed in February 2005 the nearly nine acres of Peterkort land on which the project will be constructed. Wal-Mart officials approached the city shortly after that to discuss plans for a store on the site.

Washington County had zoned the land for large-scale retail 'transit-oriented' development. The city has not imposed its own land-use zoning on the property, which meant the Board of Design Review had to rely on 'comparable' city requirements to judge the project's fit with the site.

At times, that lack of firm city standards frustrated Board of Design Review members, who had to juggle two sets of project requirements for such things as pedestrian access and traffic impact mitigation.

Save Cedar Mill President Steve Kaufman said the group hoped the City Council would take a broader view of the application, judging its impact on the community, rather than whether it met all the technical requirements.

'While we understand that the decision is more than a popularity contest, we expect the council will review the technical concerns related to the impacts of the project, and reverse the Board of Design Review decision,' Kaufman said. 'This project would jeopardize the safety and well-being of local residents, and must be denied.'

In its appeal, Save Cedar Mill reiterated dozens of arguments against the project, saying it would create 'the state's largest intersection' at eight lanes, and scare away pedestrians.

Save Cedar Mill attorney Jeffrey L. Kleinman of Portland wrote in a 15-page appeal notice that the Board of Design Review process relied on a mishmash of city and county criteria.

'The result was the worst of both worlds, in which the weakest criteria were selected,' Kleinman wrote.

Wal-Mart representatives said during the Board of Design Review hearings that the project was specifically designed to be smaller than regular Wal-Mart stores (by about 50,000 square feet) and would fit into the community with good architecture and an inviting pedestrian plaza.