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Council to hear Hallinan subdivision appeal

Lake Oswego's City Council will hear an appeal Feb. 3 of the Development Review Commission's decision to approve an eight-home subdivision in the Hallinan Heights neighborhood.

The appeal, filed Dec. 30 by Liz Martin on behalf of the Hallinan Heights Neighborhood Association, argues that the DRC was wrong to approve the Silver Oak Custom Homes project for the following reasons:

• An incomplete delineation process. The group says the Resource Protection delineation process was conducted by a consultancy firm known as SWCA Environmental Consultants, but that no copy of SWCA’s report — and no copy of the Sensitive Lands map for the area — was included in the city staff report.

"We are asked to simply accept and approve the delineation process with no information being provided as to the environmental review and delineation process used," the appeal reads.

• Unresolved traffic, parking and pedestrian safety issues. The neighborhood association argues that the traffic study used prior to the development’s approval was riddled with “erroneous assumptions,” a faulty design and a lack of data. The appeal also says that the study did not take heavy pedestrian traffic in the area into account.

"The DRC erred when they accepted the traffic study's findings that there was no need for any traffic and parking mitigation," the appeal reads. Citing city code, the appeal adds that "there should be imposed conditions of approval on this subdivision, given that 'the condition is reasonably related to alleviation of a need for public services or facilities created or contributed to by the proposed development.'"

• The lack of a Master Plan for the entire development throughout the neighborhood. Although city code classifies subdivisions as minor developments, Silver Oak Custom Homes is working with property owners Dave and Debbie Craig to eventually develop a total of 16 homes in a three-block radius — a much larger development, the neighborhood association argues. Regardless, the group says in the appeal, "nowhere in the city code is it forbidden for a subdivision to be seen as a part of the bigger development, and evaluated in its entirety."

Alternately, the group suggests in the appeal that the city manager has the power to refer even minor development applications directly to a hearing body. By doing so, the group says, there would have been a public hearing that would have allowed residents to analyze the larger development's impact on neighborhood livability and would have allowed for greater input from neighbors.

"To assume that a 16-home development is simply the sum of its arbitrary parts, and is not affecting the complex interconnected neighborhood in which it is placed, goes against everything science has taught us about all communities," the appeal reads.

• The DRC was wrong to apply the flag lot standard to the subdivision. According to city code, a flag lot is one where a building site is located behind another lot. However, the neighborhood association found that since the design for the houses in the subdivision shows the homes "either next to each other or across the easement lane from each other," that definition is not met.

"All we have ever wanted from the beginning remains the same," Martin said this week. "Lessen the impact on our neighborhood. Follow zoning laws. Don’t make up your own rules by calling it a Ministerial Decision. Listen and care about who is living there now. Make codes that are understandable for everyone."

In other development-related news:

WIZER/LUBA: In October, three groups formally opposed to the construction of a 290,000-square-foot, mixed-use development on downtown Lake Oswego’s Wizer Block took their fight to the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals. Save Our Village, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and LO 138 LLC — which represents the nearby Lake View Village development — have until Feb. 5 to file their petitioner briefs, which will summarize their arguments. The city of Lake Oswego will then have 21 days to file a response; at that point, oral arguments will be scheduled.

WEST END BUILDING: After a purchase-and-sale agreement with local businessman Nick Bunick fell through last year, the city hired the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield in December to look for another buyer. The firm is currently finalizing marketing materials and expects to have the building on the market by the end of the week, Redevelopment Director Brant Williams said.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or ssorenson@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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