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Developer pitches two-house concept across from Reed College


Ever since the “For Sale” real estate sign went up in front of sprawling, white, circa-1959 ranch style home at 3058 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard last summer, rumors abounded in Eastmoreland that it had been purchased by a developer for redevelopment.

These rumors became fact when, according to public records, the 3,563 square foot house and property had been purchased on July 23 by Everett Custom Homes, Inc.’s President, Victor E. Remmers.

After Remmers filed with the City of Portland for a Land Use Review hearing for a “Zone Map Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan” – seeking to change the property’s designation from R7 to R5 through a “Minor Land Division” to create two parcels – on October 28, he asked for time to speak at the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) meeting at Duniway School on November 21.

The plans that Remmers disclosed for the property purchased for $529,000 became clear: To remove the current house, split the lots, and build two homes.

“I think everyone's probably familiar with this property,” said ENA President Robert McCullough, “It’s across the street from Reed College.”

Showing a drawing of the project, Remmers began, “Our plans are to deconstruct that house, and then do a lot partition which would create two lots.”

He met with ENA Board members Robert McCullough and Kimberly Koehler, and ENA Land Use Chair Rod Merrick, in June, Remmers said. “I came to them with the project and asked them for their thoughts. We had a good meeting with them.

“Rod [Merrick] gave me a copy of the proposed Eastmoreland Design Standards and specifications, which I gave to our architects. They designed these plans, ‘borrowing’ architecture from your neighborhood.

“We came up with these two houses’ designs, and we feel that they will really fit in to the neighborhood.”

Both new houses would be on a 30’ setback, like other residences on the street. And, the first benefit of the project to the neighborhood, Remmers said, was that the driveways for the new houses would come into the back of the property, off of S.E. Moreland Lane – the current single driveway out onto S.E. Woodstock Boulevard would be removed.

Asked if he intended to build both houses on the lot, Remmers replied, “This is a pretty large piece of property right now. They're both going to be 6,000 to 7,000 square foot lots. These will be bigger than the standard of 50 x 100 lots [in the Comprehensive Plan].”

Kimberly Koehler asked if the zoning needs to be changed to split the lot – not yet knowing that the builder had already began the process.

“It is currently R7, and the Portland Comprehensive Plan indicates it as R5, Remmers said. “The City is envisioning this turning into R5 eventually; we're going through the zone change to do it now. We met with the city and submitted a pre-application; they support what we’re doing. Everything that we are doing supports the city’s goals and intentions.”

ENA Secretary Bud Oringdulph asked if the developer is doing other projects in the area.

“We are currently doing the “Gateway to Woodstock” project at S.E. 39th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard. We saved two historic homes, and we are building two new houses and paving the previously-unimproved Martins Street.”

Oringdulph rejoined, “I've watched your Woodstock property go up and I have the impression that these are ‘builders’ houses’. I am concerned that you're sitting on the street that is bordered by million-dollar houses … I don't see these as million-dollar houses.”

Woodstock is a different neighborhood than Eastmoreland, Remmers countered. “Are these million-dollar houses? No. But that’s because that neighborhood will not support that price point. They are going to be expensive and very nice houses.”

Responding to more questions, Remmers said the houses they’re proposing will be feature about 3,200 square foot floor plans. He would not discuss a predicted selling price for the proposed new houses. The houses will be “green, Earth Advantage, with nice high-end finishes, and vintage style interiors.”

Neighbors at the meeting also questioned Remmers regarding what appeared to be narrow spacing between the houses, whether he would be retaining trees, and plans for construction finishes.

In closing, Remmers said, “These houses will be aligned with your thinking [regarding design standards] in this neighborhood. These will be really nice houses, on really big lots.”

Two weeks later, McCullough told THE BEE, “The ENA Board of Directors will oppose this change in zoning. This isn’t because of the developer, or the designs he presented. ENA has taken a position against developers splitting lots and increasing housing density [in Eastmoreland] at this time, and will continue to do so.”