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Downtown plans would create a 'village on steroids'

I’d like to register my extreme dissatisfaction with the proposed plan for Wizer Block 137.

The city code was deliberately crafted to preserve downtown Lake Oswego’s picturesque small-town village character. Although the developer has acknowledged citizens’ constructive criticism by modifying the original plan (adding a facade of gabled roofs and dormers), its massive five-story structure essentially turns this block into a “village on steroids.”

Not only will this ruin the small-town feel of this appealing and unique location, it also sets a dangerous precedent for future redevelopment (imagine the Tillamook block and Safeway locations with monoliths of the same magnitude).

At the design review commission meeting recently (Jan. 29) a homeowner testifying against the development said the current Wizer redevelopment plan was the first step toward morphing downtown Lake Oswego into “a village of canyon buildings.” I believe it would be a travesty if the most sought after city in the state of Oregon was ruined by a redevelopment machine run amok.

Block 137 is zoned for mixed-use development, but the developer is asking for an exception to turn this into a residential block (90 percent residential/10 percent commercial). Oswego Village Townhomes, located on the adjacent block to the west, has 39 three-story townhouses.

The Wizer developer is requesting to build 228 apartment units on the same size lot, maintaining this scale is necessary for the project to pencil out (almost six times larger).

Lake View Village, its neighbor to the east, is a mixed-use development with 91,096 total square feet. The Wizer block is requesting a project with approximately 300,000 square feet (more than three times larger). How these adjacent structures can be considered “complementary” is beyond me.

As “The Living Room of Lake Oswego,” I am vehemently against the proposed Wizer block redevelopment plan as it currently stands. This picturesque city graced with views of Mount Hood and Oswego Lake would be ruined by pursuing a goal of increased density in this unique location.

I believe citizen outcry is urgently needed and please, “Let’s do it right!”

Katie Williams is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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