Oregon City Council may look into limiting car storage lots, particularly along Woodville Road, because of complaints that they are unsightly.
Councilman Joshua Hughes said at a meeting on Monday that the storage lots are “inundating our community.”
Councilman Terry Reeves said there are concerns about a storage lot at the former adult bookstore on Woodville Road, where a privacy fence has been installed around the perimeter. Some residents have complained that the fence itself is unattractive. The planning commission, and city council, approved a Special Use Permit so the owner could store vehicles at the lot.
“I know it’s an eyesore when you drive past there,” said Reeves.
Councilman Tim Zale said he received a complaint about vehicles being stored in the parking lot of the former Ponderosa Steakhouse Restaurant on Woodville Road.
“I took a complaint over the weekend regarding Woodville Road, more specifically the Ponderosa Restaurant that used to be there - that it was being parked up with cars, which I presume were coming from the car lot from across the street. My concern is that we are going to look at something we just allowed further down the road on Woodville Road. I am hoping we can do something to maybe stem this,” said Zale.
“That would be fine, but we’re going to have to add legislation to our current code, because right now, we don’t have a way to convincingly stop it,” said Mayor Mike Seferian.
It would be difficult for the city to deny a Special Use Permit for a vehicle storage lot when it already approved another, he said.
“With the rules we have right now, if someone applies for that type of arrangement, it would be very hard to deny,” said Seferian. “If that’s the interest, we’ll have to get it into committee and put some parameters on things like that or additional requirements for storage lots. We certainly would listen to anything to help enact something like that. But we don’t have something to do that right now.”
“I understand what the problem is,” said Zale. “I was at the meeting when we did approve the other one. I think we do have to do something about the problem.”
“We will be waiting for your requirements or leadership on what you want to do with it,” said Seferian. “We’ll enforce it. Whatever you give us, we’ll enforce it.”
There may be further discussion of the matter at the city’s Economic Development & Planning Committee.
“That’s where you want to put the pressure,” said Seferian.
Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, told The Press after the meeting that his staff mailed a letter to the owner of the car lot on Woodville Road to inform him that vehicles are not allowed, without a Special Use Permit, to be stored in the Ponderosa parking lot. He said employees of the car lot are parking there as of Wednesday.
“They are allowed to do that. The difference between parking and storage is that any car that is there over 24 hours is being stored. I believe they are in compliance right now,” he said.
“There’s a sense that we do want to take a look at the code in this area and see if there are some legislative solutions that would give the city some rare flexibility in dealing with some lots of this nature,” Administrator Mike Beazley said to The Press on Wednesday. “Council will take a look at that, the administration will be working with them in the coming weeks, and we’ll come up with a course of action that makes sense.”