Written by Kelly Kaczala
February 20, 2009
The developer of a planned subdivision, The Bungalows at Pearson Park, is seeking an extension on the site’s zoning approval for three years due to the poor economy.
Oregon City Council at a committee of the whole meeting on Monday voted to add the request to next Monday’s council agenda.
The Oregon Planning Commission on Feb. 21, 2006, had unanimously approved a zoning change of the property, on the north side of Navarre Avenue, east of Wynn Road, to R-4 Planned Unit Development from R-1 Single Family. City council in March of that year approved the zoning change request by a vote of 5-2.
Councilman Mike Seferian and former council member Sandy Bihn had voted against the zoning change.
Approval for R-4 Districts end three years after approval of the site plan by council, unless a building permit has been issued for construction in conformance with the approved plans, but may be extended for individual periods of up to three years, according to the Oregon Administrative Code.
The R-4 zoning designation of the property will expire March 27 without the extension.
The developer of The Bungalows is Jack Laskey, of J.A. Laskey & Associates, LTD, of Waterville.
“In 2006, Mr. Laskey came in about rezoning the land by Park Place, the condos that run east and west across from Pearson Park,” Mayor Marge Brown told council. The property that was rezoned for The Bungalows is just east of Park Place.
“These were going to be free standing-like villas,” said Brown. “It expired and so he’s asking for a three year extension to keep the process going. This is a nice project he presented to the Planning Commission back then. It was well received. It’s something you’ll find that the City of Oregon needs.”
Administrator Ken Filipiak said the request doesn’t seek changes in the original site plan, or in any conditions of the original approval process.
“It’s really just simply a matter of this economy not allowing the project to move forward at the speed the owners would desire,” said Filipiak.
“I also want to point out that when the original application came forward, Laskey was making the application as a representative of two private property owners, members of the Romstadt and Nissen familes. Since that time, those properties have been purchased for what is now held by an LLC known as Ackerman, Laskey and Enterprises Limited, LLC, so they are the true property owners and they do plan on moving forward with the project as soon as conditions allow for that,” said Filipiak.
Filipiak added that he spoke to Laskey last week and on Monday.
“He was very excited about the development, still intends to pursue this as an upscale development predominantly for empty nesters. As the mayor pointed out, very appropriately, it’s a niche that we believe is something that’s necessary in the community. I think we whole heartedly support the extension of this,” said Filipiak.
Councilman Mike Seferian, who voted against the zoning change in 2006, said he would oppose it again on Monday.
“When this came before us the first time, it was something I voted against, not because of the layout where this lies in R-4 zoning,” said Seferian. “Going through the subdivision was something I didn’t think was appropriate at the time. Because I voted against it then, I will be consistent and vote against it again.”
The subdivision will have 79 lots, with minimum lot sizes of 60 by 81 feet. Housing prices will start at $165,000. A 10 foot buffer consisting of trees and shrubs will run north and south along a perimeter on the west side of the property.
Opponents of the zoning change in 2006 expressed concerns that the design of the subdivision was inconsistent with the area, traffic would increase, and the zoning change would allow for higher density.
Feller Finch and Associates, which represented Laskey, insisted the development was better than an R-2 subdivision, with less traffic and more open space. The bungalows would have porches overlooking open space, and were designed to help create a close-knit community.