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'The Wizer proposal meets those guidelines'

I’ve been reminded of the reaction to the redevelopment of Block 138, which we now know as Lake View Village, while reading the many letters to the Review and chatting with some of my friends about the Wizer proposal.McPeak

I think an overwhelming number of us now agree that Lake View Village has added immensely to our enjoyment of living in Lake Oswego ... the added shopping, the great restaurants (do any of us cook any more?) ... the wonderful farmers’ market. Before the block and Millennium Plaza Park were redeveloped, lots of people worried about many of the same things they now bring up about the Wizer proposal.

Lake View Village turned out pretty well though, didn’t it?

Now, the proposal on the table for redeveloping the Wizer block is generating the predictable reactions. Unfortunately, people who don’t like the proposed change seem to be far more energized to speak out than the many who think it will make Lake Oswego lots better, just as Lake View Village has done.

What are some of the complaints? That the traffic generated will be bad (we’ve heard that one before and I’ll return to it), the building is too tall (same again, but in both cases the proposals met the height limits of the development code), there will be too many dogs, acting as dogs do (this one is a new one), the design is not like the rest of our town (in fact, it adheres completely to the designs approved for our downtown area. ... I might have liked more architectural variety, but so be it), and the buildings sit too close to the sidewalk (this also completely adheres to our community development code for the zone and is a key part of making any downtown vibrant and safe for residents and customers). I believe the proposal is asking for just one waiver to the development code: a fifth floor that will not make the building taller than the limit.

A word about traffic concerns. I think the residents of the apartments are highly likely to generate far less traffic than the worriers predict. Younger and older people are more likely to want to live downtown. Those are the same groups who tend to drive less, and use public transport more. Right outside of their apartments will be TriMet Bus Line 35 and shopping and dining they can access without using their cars. They’ll also find they can manage without a second car in many cases for the same reasons.

The bottom line is the Wizer proposal meets the requirements of the development code that was enacted after careful consideration by previous councils, acting not in the heat of the moment but guided by their understanding of what the community wants for Lake Oswego. To me, the code represents the desires of a majority of us, not the resistance to change by a few people. Not everyone is going to like how the buildings look. ... That is a matter of taste. But the code puts in place design guidelines the community has approved.

The Wizer proposal meets those guidelines. If we don’t find the project perfect, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is time to allow the Wizer family to improve their property, within the limits we’ve put into our code.

Elynor McPeak, Lake Oswego, is a former Lake Oswego city councilor.



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