Appeal dropped, but tennis center on hold
Facility would be on Stafford land now in the urban growth boundary
Lake Oswego has apparently backed off plans to build a tennis center on property the city pushed to bring into the urban growth boundary for that purpose, although an appeal stemming from the project is no longer an issue.
Attorney Jim Zupancic announced this week he has dropped an appeal he filed with the state after Metro, the regional government for the Portland metro area, approved Lake Oswegos request to expand the urban growth boundary so it could build a new tennis center across Stafford Road from Luscher Farm.
In a news release issued Monday, Zupancic said it was clear that Metros approval doesnt require Lake Oswego to actually use the property for a tennis facility.
Its also clear that the city council intends to leave open the question of how the property is to be used in the future, he said. Preserving the right of the public comment for local neighborhood associations, residents and other interested parties concerning how the property should be used is key to open government. We wanted assurances there was no predetermination of use that may circumvent the future public process.
While the previous process was public, he later added, I believe the questions ... having to do with environmental impacts and traffic and all of the other development issues were really beyond the scope of what was being discussed before Metro.
Even though Metros approval of the UGB expansion in December didnt require that the land ultimately house a tennis center, the decision was based on the communitys need for a new facility and its inability to provide one elsewhere.
But over the past few years, Zupancic was working to develop Stafford Hills Club, a private health and recreation facility that recently opened outside of Lake Oswego in Tualatin. In hearings leading up to Metros decision, he said his facility offers seven indoor courts and three more outside, and its only about two miles from Lake Oswegos planned tennis center.
Zupancic contended that the community did have a longstanding need for more tennis courts but that the void has been filled by the private sector.
Meanwhile, tennis supporters also packed public hearings to speak in favor of the project.
The city settled on the Stafford Road site after long-running public efforts to find a solution to overwhelming demand for the four courts at the existing municipal tennis center. The indoor tennis center property, next to Springbrook Park, could be sold to help finance the proposed new eight-court building.
The 10-acre property was already within city limits but was outside of the line limiting urban sprawl. It had been traded out of the boundary in 2006 so the city could instead bring in the land where it developed Hazelia Field.
Still, it now appears the public tennis center plans are on hiatus.
Mayor Kent Studebaker noted Monday that the citys budget committee did not include a new tennis center in its spending plan for the next fiscal year. He said tennis also didnt rise to the top of community interests in a recent public survey.
At least for now, he said, its true that the question remains open about the propertys long-term use.
We didnt vote on that, Studebaker said. But its not now a high priority.
However, were the city to change course and move ahead with planning a replacement tennis center, he said citizens can expect an open, public process.
Including $802,000 in soft costs, the facility, planned on a city-owned property in the Stafford area, is estimated to cost $5,101,438, he said.
That obviously is something the council would have to decide on," Studebaker said.
Supporters of the project say it will be cost-neutral because the tennis center would be paid for by user fees.
From a financial perspective, Studebaker noted, the appeals withdrawal is good news for Lake Oswego.
That means the city doesnt have to spend money responding to it, he said. It eliminates some expense for us.