Council to hear more about applying fees to land now outside the city

The Boring Community Planning Organization just wants to stand up for the rights of county landowners.

The city of Sandy just wants to comply with its agreement with a developer.

The developer just wants help paying for a street the city required him to build that extended beyond his subdivision.

That leaves the landowners holding a bill for $1,743 in fees they would have to pay for each home they choose to build on their property.

Or else they will have to delay building for 20 years.

Through its traffic engineer from Replinger and Associates in Portland, the city has identified an area of benefit — with some land that isn’t inside the city limits.

Instead, some of that land is inside the boundaries of the Boring CPO. That’s why CPO Chairman Steve Bates testified to the Sandy City Council, recently stating that the city shouldn’t reach out to land that isn’t within its jurisdiction and attach a bill that could become a lien against that property during the next 20 years.

He also criticized the city’s choice because people whom some of the landowners couldn’t vote for are making a decision that could affect the value of their property.

But City Attorney David Doughman says it is not a lien against the property, even though the obligation will be recorded at the county. He says it is simply a bill that must be paid to the city at the time a building permit is requested. The money then would be given to the developer as reimbursement for the cost of a portion of the road.

Public Works Director Mike Walker says the reimbursement for off-site development costs is a common practice by many cities or counties.

“A reimbursement district,” he said, “is a way for the person who has built (an infrastructure upgrade) to recover those costs in the future from people who benefit from the improvement.”

Bates is afraid that the threat of a fee against property to reimburse a developer for building a road required by the city is going to lower the value of some land within the Boring CPO.

Doughman stated at the council’s Aug. 5 meeting there would be no lien filed with the county recorder against property outside the city.

But Bates refers to the Notice of Public Hearing, dated July 25, that states “ . . . information is recorded with the county so that future buyers or owners of benefitted property are made aware of the reimbursement obligation at the time of property sale or transfer.”

Bates, therefore, formally requested that the council, at its Sept. 3 meeting, order a written statement or include it in the resolution that there will be no liens, covenants or obligations against titles or deeds for the properties in the area of benefit.

Bates also referred to a statement from Mayor Bill King, who said at the Aug. 5 council meeting that the city has no jurisdiction outside of its boundaries.

So Bates formally asked the city to remove all properties outside the city limits from the proposed area of benefit.

That area of benefit is one of the contentions. More than one landowner has complained to the council that they do not consider Jewelberry Avenue to be a benefit to them because their land is not adjacent to the road and they do not use it for access to their property.

Wallace and Irene Hewitt, for example, wrote a two-page letter to the council, complaining that the developer should have applied for the reimbursement 10 years ago when the city first required the construction of Jewelberry Avenue. The Hewitts have property adjacent to Bluff and Kelso roads as well as Andrews Street and 377th Avenue.

“This gives us a potential of three points of access to (roads leading to) the city of Sandy and Highway 26,” their letter stated. “Thus Jewelberry Avenue is of no value to us and our property.”

In a letter from David Chatelain — which Bates delivered to the council because the land is inside the Boring CPO boundaries — Chatelain complains that the developer wants area landowners to help him pay his expected costs of doing business.

“The developer had to put in the road to build more houses,” Chatelain stated. “It was to his benefit to do this. Now, he is wanting others’ help to pay for it.”

At the Sept. 3 meeting, the council will reopen the public hearing, listen to any more verbal comments, consider any written comments, hear any more comments from Walker or Doughman, and discuss the issue before recommending to Walker the details of the resolution he will bring back to the council, likely at its Oct. 1 meeting.

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