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Milwaukie responds to citizen's claims

Jean Baker made false statements in last week's Clackamas Review about Milwaukie's changes to the land-use process, according to city officials.

In a response to City Council Position 2 candidate Lisa Batey's question, City Manager Bill Monahan provided a city-staff analysis to all candidates. Officials found that a higher-density designation does not prevent a single-family house from being built to replace a house on a single lot.

"We think Jean is referring to the Residential Development Standards Update project, which took place from 2011-2012," Monahan wrote. "That project resulted in new design standards for multifamily residential development and strengthened single-family design standards throughout the city."

Much of the Historic Milwaukie neighborhood east of downtown consists of medium and high-density zones, including a small pocket north of the Waldorf school. But all of those zones allow single-family detached dwellings, so single-family homes are not nonconforming and there is no restriction regarding construction or reconstruction of a single-family home if it is destroyed by natural causes.

"In addition, the construction of single-family homes in these zones is exempt from the minimum density requirements of the zone, so there is no requirement that a single-family home be replaced by additional units," Monahan wrote.

While the Moving Forward Milwaukie project is being funded by a Metro grant, officials further clarified, it is not mandated by Metro. City Council initiated the project and approved the scope of work at the local level. None of the financial tools mentioned in the article have been formalized.

In response to Baker's concerns about public involvement, city officials pointed out that neighborhood associations within 400 feet of proposed development receive 45 days to review proposals and provide comment. Notice is sent to neighbors 20 days in advance of a hearing for a development project.