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Council reevaluating development codes

Effort led by City Councilor Bob Martin


When Bob Martin ran for West Linn City Council in the fall of 2015, a significant portion of his campaign was focused on city codes.

Namely, Martin’s promise was to overhaul segments of city code that had been problematic when it came to development and other issues in past years. His observations came from firsthand experience during his years on the West Linn planning commission.

Through the early months of 2016, Martin has kept his promise, and the City Council discussed how to move forward with a series of potential code changes at its work session Monday, April 18.

A number of the codes referenced by Martin were addressed as recently as 2014, when a previous City Council approved the “Regulatory Code Streamlining project” — formerly known as “Cut the Red Tape.” Martin was critical of a number of those changes on the campaign trail, stating that they reduced citizen involvement and that he would push for a reevaluation of the changes if elected.

Other codes labeled as problematic had recent real world consequences: Martin referenced, for example, the ambiguous language regarding mixed use development that allowed for ConAm Properties, LLC to propose a single and multiple family mixed use housing complex with first floor commercial spaces that were not to exceed 300 square feet.

In denying the proposal, then Planning Commission Chair Ryerson Schwark noted that “the code is not well-written,” and that “if I put a vending machine on the first floor of that building, I effectively adhere to that code.”

“I’d like to see clarifying mixed use on the first floor (of development) moved up (on the priority list),” Martin said. “We would avoid the problems of previous applications, and make sure the first level is commercial as intended.”

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..