City accused of failing to provide legal notices on construction project
To the editor:
Molallas recent failure to provide proper legal notice for a land use hearing and failure to stop a developer from breaking ground without permits is alarming.
On Oct. 22, a hearing was held for StonePlaceStorage LLCs proposal to build about 200 garage/storage units with surface parking on an 8 acre parcel that fronts S. Lowe Rd and Ona Way. The site is bisected by a high functioning section of Bear Creek, listed in Molallas wetlands survey as a locally significant wetland area. Historic Jackson Cemetery (with pioneer graves from the 1850s) is enclosed within the property.
An ethical city would ensure that a sensitive site (as defined in Molallas codes) would be carefully evaluated before any earth was moved; it would give proper legal notice to the Pioneer, neighborhood organizations, County road engineers, and the State Historic Protection Office (SHPO). Molalla ignored notification and evaluation requirements.
Before the hearing, the developer mutilated the site without permits. House pads were carved and three houses were moved and placed on blocks. Massive amounts of dirt were moved, triggering removal and fill violations. Most egregious, the developer, without oversight from SHPO, blazed a giant driveway along the cemetery, creating access to S. Lowe Rd.
The few citizens who learned about the hearing raised multiple valid concerns. City Manager Huff, impatient and apparently catering to the developer, pushed for a decision and the Planning Commission voted to approve the project.