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High-density apartments on Wizer block

If the current high-density apartment complex is allowed to go forward as planned, there is no doubt it will bring a decreased quality of life for the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods due to an assortment of issues.

The mass of this project in relation to surrounding properties should have been taken into consideration along with the traffic impact and the unflattering issues a high-density apartment complex brings.

It’s important to protect our neighborhoods throughout Lake Oswego from future incompatible developments like this that could not only hurt property values but also disrupt our neighborhood character. Citizens deserve the protection they have been led to believe they would get from their elected officials.

Our city council has disregarded our city codes and failed to keep its pledge to preserve Lake Oswego’s current character and prevent high density. How does an out-of-proportion, high-density apartment complex fit into our city plans, which state “the village character as a community of small-scale structures that appears and operates like a traditional small town.” New or remodeled structures shall be designed to complement surrounding structures.

Block 136, located next door to Wizer’s, was built in 2003. At that time citizens expressed concerns over parking and traffic that the town homes would bring. After working with the developer, the proposal was reduced to three stories and 39 town homes. Wizer’s block will be five stories with 228 units. Block 136 is the same size as Wizer’s.

The developers have been reluctant to compromise or listen to pleas from residents who are genuinely concerned about the size and density of this apartment complex. From the early neighborhood meetings the citizens expressed their concerns. The developers spun a web of deception in claiming they have sought and listened to the neighborhood communities for feedback and had made appropriate changes. To address density and size to the city council, they proposed: (1) “a beautiful pedestrian walkway between First and Second that divides the buildings;” (2) “Three buildings each provide their own distinct style;” (3) “Top floors are set back to decrease the scale.”

Our concerns remain the same. The height is still five stories and the high-density apartment is still 228 units, the same that was first proposed. The developers have stated they hoped approximately one-quarter would be condominiums, possibly more. Pat Kessi said, “A lot of people are actually on our waiting list and we’re excited to help meet that demand.” His gut feeling is “we have at least 52 condos.” The final application to the city ... now states the complex will be 100 percent apartments and will take up to three years to build.

Some answers frequently used by the developers: “That’s a great question.” “It’s possible.” “It’s probable.” “We’ll look into it.”

So we now know from their final application to the city we have 100 percent apartments with the possibility of converting the apartments into condos at a later date. And this would be when? That’s a great question.

We are in favor of redevelopment but in a manner that is respectful of the surrounding neighborhoods and the vision our town identifies with and honors. A high-density apartment complex in the midst of our town square is the wrong project in the wrong location.

Lita Grigg is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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