The city of Lake Oswego will defend the regional government against an appeal of its decision to expand the urban growth boundary at Lake Oswego’s request.

The city council voted Tuesday to intervene on behalf of Metro in the appeal, which was filed with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals on Jan. 4 by Stafford Hills Club, a tennis, fitness and aquatics center in Tualatin that opened in December. The case will likely take about two and a half months to decide, according to LUBA.

Mayor Kent Studebaker said officials were facing a Jan. 25 deadline to intervene.

“It makes sense to intervene at this time to meet the deadline, but ... this does not prevent us from withdrawing from that involvement in the appeal,” Studebaker said. “It does nothing to commit us to making a tennis center there.”

Lake Oswego petitioned for the UGB expansion so it could build a new indoor tennis center on property the city owns in the Stafford VERN UYETAKE - This file photo shows the potential site for a new city-owned indoor tennis center on the edge of Lake Oswego. A private tennis club has appealed the propertys inclusion in the urban growth boundary.

The property, about 10 acres across Stafford Road from Luscher Farm, is already in city limits but is outside of the line limiting urban sprawl. It had been traded out of the boundary in 2006 so the city could instead bring in the land where it developed Hazelia Field.

Metro approved the expansion request late last year.

In hearings leading up to Metro’s decision, former Lake Oswego resident Jim Zupancic, an attorney involved with the Stafford Hills Club who lives in the Stafford area, said his facility offers seven indoor courts and three more outside only about two miles from Lake Oswego’s planned tennis center.

He testified that the community’s longstanding need for more tennis courts “has been filled by the private sector.”

The council voted 6-1 in favor of intervening in the appeal.

Councilor Donna Jordan said although the city is still figuring out whether the site can accommodate the additional traffic it might create, “I think it’s important for us to keep our options open.”

“We still have information we’re trying to ascertain — whether or not the traffic study shows this is the right location,” she said. “But at this point in time, we don’t have a reason to not try and support what we asked for. The property is within the city limits already.”

Councilor Jeff Gudman said he liked “that we can get alignment between the UGB and city boundaries.” And the cost of filing to intervene, $100, is “minimal,” he said.

Councilor Jon Gustafson said the city should intervene to back up citizens’ long-running efforts to find a solution to overwhelming demand for the four courts at the existing indoor tennis center. The existing tennis center property, next to Springbrook Park, would likely be sold to help finance the new eight-court building.

“It’s letting the process go through its proper course,” he said. “I think the idea that one business owner can throw a wrench in all the hard work our citizens have done in this process is wrong,” Gustafson said, calling it the city’s “obligation to back up citizens.”

Council president Mike Kehoe was the lone dissenter. He said defending Metro’s decision would require agreeing with the basis for it — that means agreeing that Lake Oswego has a need for more indoor tennis facilities and that the property in question is the only place to meet that need.

“I didn’t agree it was the only location for a tennis center last year, and I still don’t agree,” Kehoe said.

Metro’s approval of the UGB expansion does not require that the land ultimately house a tennis center, although the decision was based on the community’s need for a new facility and inability to provide one elsewhere.

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