Latest version removes some projects that could have devalued private property

The Lake Oswego City Council continued its discussion of Transportation System Plan updates Tuesday, following a heated public hearing July 1 on proposed amendments.

The state Department of Land Conservation and Development requires Lake Oswego to conduct a periodic review of its comprehensive plan, which has not been updated since it was first adopted in 1997.

Councilor Lauren Hughes once again recused herself from the discussion, citing a conflict of interest because her property could potentially be devalued by the proposed addition of a pedestrian/bike trail.

City staff asked the council to discuss nine different points and vote separately on each before voting on the TSP updates as a whole. Those points included:

  • Language about parking cap recommendations. Lake Oswego’s development code was found to be in compliance with the Regional Transportation Functional Plan’s minimum and maximum parking standards for local governments, and the City Council voted unanimously to remove such parking caps.

  • A number of projects seen as devaluing private property. Several citizens, including Councilor Hughes, argued during the July 1 session that a number of projects in the TSP that aimed to increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity would actually cut into private residential lots.

    The council voted 5 to 1 to remove proposed roadway project 198, and to remove proposed pedestrian and bicycle projects 181 through 222.

  • Establishing the TS rather than the TMP as the authoritative document on pathway projects. “What they’re trying to do here is reassure people that when development plans come in, the TSP is where they go to look for what trails and pathways are on our map and planning going forward,” Councilor Donna Jordan explained. The council passed the motion unanimously.

    The council voted 5 to 1 to tentatively approve the amended TSP for adoption, with Councilor Karen Bowerman dissenting. The council will discuss it again during its Sept. 2 session.

    Also on Tuesday:

    The council revisited the issue of Sensitive Lands. City Manager Scott Lazenby told the council its timeline for a Sensitive Lands program overhaul was likely unrealistic, and that a reasonable deadline would be “sometime in the second half of 2015.”

    Lazenby said that at the council’s direction, the city had sought outside legal counsel to ensure that changes to the resources protection program were in compliance with both Department of Environmental Quality and Metro regulations.

    “Getting our proposal to pass muster with two different regulatory regimes is not going to be a trivial task,” Lazenby said. “It probably will take some additional time and analysis to make sure we’re successful at that.”

    “A major piece of the program is to replace tree grove protection...with a voluntary, incentive-based approach,” Lazenby said.

    Attorney Tom Lindley, from the law firm Perkins Coie, explained how a new technology would allow Lake Oswego to do more accurate mapping for its new program. Lindley said the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries had been working with local governments on light detection and ranging technology, which would allow for a more thorough survey of local lands.

    The data was expected to be made available by late September, Lindley said, after which the city would need a few months to analyze new maps.

    The council agreed to an extended timeline, and said that in the interim, it would explore ways to offer relief to property owners currently suffering the “strange side effects” of the Sensitive Lands program.

    In other business, a hearing on ordinance 2646, which would annex a 1.73-acre parcel to the city of Lake Oswego, was rescheduled. The petitioners asked that discussion around the property at 14061 Goodall Road be delayed, and the council agreed to take up the issue during its Sept. 2 session.

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