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Judge Wizer Block project on the standards in place

After reviewing the facts, I am struggling to understand the recent decision made by the Development Review Commission as it evaluated the Wizer Block proposal.

In a close 3-2 final vote, three of the commissioners denied the application of developer Patrick Kessi because they decided that a definition is in fact not just a definition but a “criteria” for approving this particular project. Applying “small-scale structures” as criteria for meeting the code without definitively stating what “small-scale structures” actually means is quite confusing.

I was equally puzzled when I compared measurements of Lake View Village with the proposed Wizer Block buildings and tried to understand how Lake View Village can be defined as a “small-scale structure” and the Wizer project is not provided the same consideration. That seems inconsistent.

A side-by-side comparison indicates the following:

n The longest façade at Lake View Village is 311 feet. The longest façade at Wizer is 273 feet. So something that is 38 feet longer is a “small-scale structure” and something that is 38 feet shorter is not?

n The height range at Lake View Village varies from 41 feet to 63 feet. The height range at Wizer varies from 46 feet to 58 feet. So something that is five feet higher is a “small-scale structure” and something that is five feet shorter is not?

n The largest building at Lake View Village has a footprint of 72,479 square feet. The largest building at Wizer is 31,894 square feet. So a building that is more than twice as big is a “small-scale structure” and a building that is less than half as big is not?

If indeed there is something new for approval that requires developers to meet some ambiguous “small-scale structures” standard, then the Wizer design meets this standard criteria. The Wizer project is shorter, smaller and has less mass than Lake View Village. Yet Lake View Village passed the very same code review, even though it had to be granted 11 exceptions as opposed to only four minor exceptions for Wizer.

My family and I support and enjoy our Lake Oswego schools, parks and outdoor recreational activities. As we continue the climb out of the recent economic crisis, we should welcome economic opportunity. In my view, the proposed Wizer project provides a terrific complement to our downtown core and offers stimulus for jobs, small businesses and overall economic growth. The Wizer project should be judged on the standards currently in place, which clearly meet the definition of “small-scale structures.”

Michael L. Sander is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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