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Don't ignore the Wizer Block project

It’s the height of summer and people are busy — this is the exact time Patrick Kessi’s Wizer development team chose to trot out the same pig the city rejected previously, only they’ve shaved an inch off its legs and curled its tail. They probably hoped we’re too busy to react.

The density of this apartment complex has been reduced from 228 to 207 units, or by less than 10 percent, and they’ve shifted 26 visitor parking spaces to the street. The building is still 87-percent apartments, and the 71,000 square feet of current retail will be cut nearly in half to 36,500 square feet. Reliable sources say the new retail space will house such businesses as a groomer for the large influx of dogs and a pharmacy — services perfect for the building’s tenants, but not necessarily for the community at large.

The revised plan shows 268 parking spaces available to residents. Since there’s a good chance many residents will have two cars, the extra car will be outside, competing for street parking with everyone else. Yep, they’ll need to put in parking meters to control that!

Although the project’s traffic expert says the additional cars won’t impact our city, it seems 300 or so cars blocked by a lake and having to drive down neighborhood streets to avoid congestion will have quite an impact. Consider the bottleneck of traffic during rush hour on A Avenue and State Street, and the congestion during farmers market. Now add 300 cars coming and going every day.

And what about the city code that defines the Wizer Block as being part of the four-block retail core? Clearly a high-density, 87-percent residential complex doesn’t fit the definition of retail. But Kessi’s redesign ignores this. He also ignores the code for village character, as defined as “small-scale structures.” Do you think their 260-foot long building, over two-thirds the length of a football field, provides village character?

Kessi also states he’s received dozens of letters in favor of his development. Did you know City Hall records indicate these letters came from Kessi’s high-rise building in Portland and from a public relations agency?

Proponents of this scheme also use fear tactics to make us believe this development is our only option; if we don’t choose this, we’ll be left with nothing. Come on now. If we go along with this developer’s plan, we will be stuck with three large apartment buildings that will take advantage of Lake Oswego’s amenities and provide us with little in return, except increased traffic, parking problems and a constant inflow and outflow of moving trucks for the one-year lease apartment tenants.

We must pay attention and make some noise. We have a highly intelligent community, and the majority of Lake Oswego citizens are against this development. Don’t buckle. Even in the height of summer, we need to speak out because the developer is hoping we’ll give in. Please participate in City Hall’s July 21 hearing.

Gale Frank is a Lake Oswego resident.

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