Oregon City Council on Monday approved a zoning change and conditional use permit for a parcel on Navarre Avenue for a proposed used car lot.
Zoning at 2705 Navarre Avenue was changed from R-2 Medium Density Residential to C-2 General Commercial Zoning.
Henry’s Automotive was formerly at the location on the north side of Navarre Avenue, east of Wheeling Street.
Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, said the parcel has split zoning, with C-2 in the front, and R-2 in the back.
“The plan commission has granted a conditional use for outdoor sales of autos, and also recommended approval for the zoning change,” Gilmore said.
The property that is rezoned at the rear will hold a detention pond, which would provide screening or act as a buffer to residential property that abuts the site.
“Are we assured then that the property, when rezoned, will line up with properties next to this parcel with similar zoning?” asked Councilman Jerry Peach.
“That is correct.C-2 zoning is the adjacent zoning and would match up perfectly,” said Gilmore.
“The holding pond is great,” said Councilman Sandy Bihn. “Is there actually screening that will go on the northern side of this property so you can’t see residential from this parcel at all? It’s my pet peeve on Navarre Avenue when you look back that you can see all the residential on so many of these parcels and they’ve not been properly screened for the transition from commercial to residential.”
“That is correct,” Gilmore said of trees and bushes that will provide screening.. “We’ll have screening of 20 feet that’s required by the code.”
“I remember doing the Home Depot parcel and there was a lot of screening and a whole buffer zone,” said Bihn. “How tall will this grow? Will it actually create a screen after it’s planted that will actually not allow you to see the residential behind it.
“If I’m correct, the trees will be every 25 feet and the bushes, which will get to a height of 3 feet within two years, will be the amount of screening there,” said Gilmore.
“This will be about the best screening in this area that will make the zoning consistent,” said Administrator Mike Beazley. “This is a considerable upgrade, about the best we have. The planning commission felt good about it.”
Bihn said she thought the screening behind Walmart was more than 20 feet.
“Wasn’t the buffer much more than 20 feet? Are we consistent in how we treat people, because it affects property values and it affects the aesthetics in the neighborhood, which is important.”
“We are consistent,” said Gilmore, “but there’s always a chance council will approve some special project that might require larger buffer yards. It’s specified in the code and that’s what we follow. It’s 20 feet when it abuts residential.”
Councilman Dennis Walendzak asked Gilmore if he spoke with residents whose properties abut the parcel and if he had addressed any of their concerns.
“I did not have conversations with any residents,” said Gilmore. Residents who would be affected were notified by his office about the proposed zoning change. “I did not hear from anybody.”
Bihn asked what type of trees will be used for screening.
“We have a list of trees we go off of,” said Gilmore. “There’s a number of different trees they’re allowed to use. In this particular situation, I believe the screening that’s planned will be even larger than what is required. I believe they will have trees planted around the detention pond, not because it’s required by our code, but because they want to do it. There is a number of species of trees that we could use.”
Bihn said Evergreens would be better for screening because the trees are cleaner and create a better buffer.
“If it’s possible to suggest that, it would be a good thing,” said Bihn.
According to the proposed site plan, the detention pond will be in the back 206 feet of the property and the paved area where the cars will be displayed would be in the first 426 feet.
The Project Review Committee discussed the matter and feels that the positioning of the detention pond and the screening in the back 20 feet will buffer the C-2 use against the R-2, according to Gilmore.
At a planning commission meeting on Jan. 15, Greg Perrin, who represented the owner of the company, said the company owns 22 other used car dealerships. He also said the property will be leased and that the other lots usually have no more than 40-50 autos displayed on the lot.