The new homes will connect to Versailles Lane to gain access to Fischer Road

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - CHANGES AHEAD - Dead-end Versailles Lane, located south of Fischer Road, currently serves the 24-unit River Lake Village Condos, but in the future, the residents of 80 new homes also will be using it.The quiet, leafy, dead-end Versailles Lane south of Fischer Road will be getting a lot more traffic in the future due to an 80-unit subdivision that will use Versailles for its access.

Following a public hearing June 18, the King City Planning Commission approved the project, and with no appeals filed, it can now proceed.

The applicant is Ryan O'Brien of Emerio Design in Beaverton, and the owner is Willamette Valley Bank in Salem.

The 13.95-acre site is currently undeveloped and is situated south of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Station 35 in King City. The eastern boundary is Pacific Highway, and the Tualatin River forms the southern boundary, and with much of the site containing a 100-year floodplain and wetlands, the development would occupy only 5.26 acres with a zoning designation of King City R-24, which is multiple-family residential and allows 24 units per acre.

The current access to the property is a gravel road off 99W, which is limited to right-in and right-out turns due to a landscaped center median. However, the property has an easement along Versailles Lane by the River Lake Village Condominiums to Fischer Road.

An initial traffic report based on 84 units being developed estimated that the completed subdivision would generate a daily average of 488 new vehicle trips, assuming a trip rate of 5.81 per unit.

"The report concluded that the additional traffic will not have a significant detrimental impact on the street system," stated King City planning consultant Keith Liden in a memorandum to the Planning Commission. "The report does identify site-distance issues caused by trees and the SW Versailles sign.

“The application includes proposed tree removal and sign removal/relocation to address this problem. In addition, on-street parking may need to be limited along SW Fischer Road near the driveway intersection."

The applicant proposes to apply the planned-development provision of the city development code to allow for greater flexibility of housing types to meet the density requirements of the R-24 zoning. In addition to the residential lots, the applicant has proposed several open-space tracts and areas to satisfy common open-space requirements.

According to the tree removal plan, most of the trees in the flood plain and wetland area would remain, while 20 trees located on the upland part of the site are proposed to be removed to allow for site grading, homes and the completion of a private roadway connection to Versailles Lane.

The gravel road off 99W is used by an existing property owner to the southwest and PGE, which operates an electrical substation to the north. A cell phone company also relies on the road to service a cell phone facility located on the PGE property.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is requiring an ODOT approach permit for emergency access on 99W and also recommended that the builder take "appropriate" measures to mitigate highway noise. Further, ODOT recommended that the frontage road used for emergency and site access be paved, including the southern frontage road connection to 99W and the pedestrian transition to the Tualatin River highway bridge.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue requires a minimum of two access drives for a development of this size and a minimum street width of more than 32 feet to accommodate on-street parking on both sides of the street; otherwise, for streets between 28 and 32 feet in width, parking only on one side is allowed.

Liden pointed out that the R-24 designation is "not very flexible," whereas "a planned development allows for more flexibility."

The improved access street (Versailles) would have bike lanes and sidewalks as well as a center-turn lane, according to Liden.

One issue that may kill the deal would be if the developer does not get approval to use the wetlands as part of the open space. "If that doesn't happen, there is no deal," Liden said. "The key question is open-space approval."

Another concern is traffic impacts to 99W and Fischer Road, with Washington County expected to address those issues by possibly requiring the reconfiguration of the access from Versailles to Fischer to provide adequate corner site distance, eliminating some parking spots on Fischer west of Versailles and removing concrete entrance signs and other obstructions.

During the public hearing, a woman who lives in the River Lake Village Condos said that the intersection of Versailles and Fischer is already so bad that "there are accidents waiting to happen."

A man who lives in the 24-unit condo complex added, ""Twenty-four of us live in there. It is already a nightmare with a sharp hook in the road... We would like no surprises. I ask this committee to hold off (on making a decision) until Washington County rules on eliminating on-street parking (on Fischer)."

But the developer's representative said, "Washington County has assured me that they will eliminate the parking," and Liden added, "I'm expecting limitations on parking."

According to Liden, Washington County did not respond to a request for comments in time for the public hearing as ODOT and TVF&R did.

The Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 to approve the project and approve the conditions are presented, with one member absent and one abstaining.

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