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Stein property approved for annexation into Tualatin

City, ownership agrees on 'covenant' prohibiting gas station, cardlock.

COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TUALATIN - A city map shows the 2.05-acre parcel bounded by Highway 99W, Southwest Cipole Road and Southwest Pacific Drive in west Tualatin.The 2.05 acres in west Tualatin at the center of a recent months-long controversy were tentatively approved for annexation into the city on Monday.

The property, which is along Highway 99W at Southwest Cipole Road, is owned by Bob Stein, who owns and operates Oregon City-based Stein Oil Co. Stein had originally sought to develop the site as a Chevron gas station, with a convenience store, coffee drive-through and cardlock commercial vehicle fueling facility. But after residents of the adjacent Pony Ridge neighborhood and Angel Haven mobile home park organized in opposition, Stein and his representatives told the Tualatin City Council in March that they would not build a gas station out of respect for the neighbors' wishes.

The annexation hearing was carried over to Monday to give city staff time to develop a “restrictive covenant” that will legally prevent the property from being developed as a gas station or cardlock facility, either by the current owners or in the future.

FILE - Monique Beikman.Councilors unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the annexation and restrictions.

“I think that this reflects just a phenomenal amount of working together,” said Councilor Ed Truax. “I mean, we talk all the time about working with the neighbors and working with the community, and I don't think we ever see a better example than this.”

Council President Monique Beikman, presiding over Monday's meeting in the absence of Mayor Lou Ogden, and Councilor Nancy Grimes praised Stein and his contingent for their willingness to give up on their original plans in order to make good with the community.

“In my whole nine years of sitting on the City Council, it is unprecedented to see what you wonderful people have done,” Beikman said, adding that she hopes it sets an example for future businesses moving into Tualatin.

“And that goes to the neighborhood, also, because that's the other half,” Grimes said. “I mean, you guys did an incredibly generous and thoughtful gesture through what you've done, but what the neighborhood did — the way everybody came together in a very cohesive, positive and proactive way — I thought was just exceptional. I mean, it just really shows, I think, the heart and the spirit of the community. … I think that they really mobilized well and communicated well, and it just was great to have a forthright, open conversation about this and come to such a good (resolution).”

Mike Connors, an attorney representing Stein who addressed the council in March and again on Monday, told The Times after the meeting that the Stein family is satisfied with the resolution.

“They feel good about it,” he said. “Feel good that we were able to come up with a proposal that everybody can get behind and support, bring the property into the city so we're paying taxes, and hope that goodwill that we garnered in this process will carry over into the development permit process.”

It has yet to be determined how the site will be developed, Connors said.

“We don't have a plan, because our original plan we basically agreed to take off the table,” he said.

The City Council will also take a look at changing its ordinances to prevent a situation like this from happening again. One of the objections residents raised to having a gas station across the street from their neighborhoods was that homes located within 300 feet of large fuel storage tanks may not be eligible for financing through the Federal Housing Administration, effectively making them more difficult to buy and sell.

“I think that it would behoove us to have the staff take a look … to see if there are changes we should be making to our ordinance to protect our homeowners when it comes to future development on gas stations,” said Councilor Joelle Davis.

Councilors agreed to have city staff report back on possible changes, although Beikman and Truax said they want to avoid being “too reactive,” as Truax put it, to the Stein property controversy.

Grimes said she the city should keep details like the FHA radius rule in mind while planning future developments, like the Basalt Creek area south of Tualatin's existing city limits.

“I think it's very important to know that,” Grimes said. “I mean, that's a huge benefit to the people that live in this community.”

The council is expected to take up the issue again at a future work session.

By Mark Miller
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