Cabelas, Nyberg Rivers anchor store, scores conditional-use permit

The Tualatin City Council has approved a plan to allow Cabela's to sell some of its boats and ATVs outside when it opens in Tualatin next year.The Tualatin City Council voted Monday to clear an obstacle to the Nyberg Rivers anchor store.

Although the council approved CenterCal Properties’ proposed master plan during an Aug. 7 special meeting, there was some uncertainty as to whether the city would approve a conditional-use permit that would allow Cabela’s, the development's anchor store, to sell sporting goods outdoors.

Cabela’s routinely sells outdoor recreational equipment, like all-terrain vehicles and motorized boats, on sidewalk areas outside its locations.

Members of the City Council voiced concern about the category of “sporting goods,” as specified in the permit application.

“Who’s to say I couldn’t come in with an application to sell Smart cars and Mini Coopers with the top cut off and camo painting on the side?” Councilor Ed Truax argued.

City attorney Sean Brady said the city deferred to the American Planning Association’s definition of sporting goods.

The council took a 10-minute break to review a letter of opposition written by Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Zian Limited Partnership, which owns the Hedges Greene Shopping Center in Tualatin.

Perkins Coie argued that the requested conditional-use permit was not consistent with the central commercial and commercial office planning zones in question.

The conditional-use permit application included both a request for outdoor sales in the office commercial district and a request for outdoor sales directly in front of Cabela’s.

City planning manager Aquilla Hurd-Ravich specified that zoning regulations prohibited “outdoor sales and display of outboard- and inboard-powered boats, trailers and motorized ATVs.”

Councilor Monique Beikman presided over the council meeting, with Mayor Lou Ogden attending remotely via speakerphone.

“Where I’m a bit hung up here, is trying to understand the difference between what happens on the ground at Cabela’s versus what happens on the ground at REIs or Dick’s,” Ogden said.

“In terms of what we allow for outdoor sales items, in the central commercial (district), why would that be different from what we allow in the general commercial (district), taking into account Cabela’s is a big box, rather than (located) in urban renewal?” he said.

“We have lost our ability to implement a lot of that. I’m wondering why we would be more restrictive on what Cabela’s could do than on what a Dick’s could do,” Ogden said.

Hurd-Ravich clarified that Cabela’s would be located in a central commercial district, with a separate set of regulations from a general commercial district.

Truax worried the city was “embarking upon a parcel-by-parcel, rule-making episode for every piece of land in downtown Tualatin.”

“That seems to me a bit unwieldy. If we’re going to treat our downtown as general commercial and give up on the central renewal plan, then we ought to apply whatever we’re doing here to the downtown generally,” Truax said.

This is a “piecemeal approach,” he added.

Beikman emphasized the area that Cabela’s would be using for outside retail.

“If it’s half the parking lot, then I have a problem with that,” she said. “We don’t have a downtown Tualatin that looks like McLoughlin Boulevard.”

Still, the council unanimously passed Ogden’s motion to grant the conditional-use permit, with a change that would allow ATV sales and sales of boats with outboard motors.

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