Oregon City Council at a special meeting last Tuesday approved a Special Use Exception (SUE) that will allow Fouty & Company to expand its business on property located on Vega Lane, north of Bayshore Road.
The owner of the company, which makes hydraulic hoses and gaskets, is Marion Fouty.
A public hearing was held by the Oregon Planning Commission on Nov. 15, which voted 3-0 to recommend the SUE.
James Gilmore, Oregon’s commissioner of building and zoning, said at a public hearing held before the council meeting that the property is located at the end of Wynn Road north of Bay Shore Road.
“It encompasses many properties. The request for the Special Use is to eventually put up two industrial buildings,” he said.
Ron Stroshine, principal owner of Form and Function Architects, Lilias Drive, Oregon, represented Fouty at the meeting.
“He’s been in business at this location since 1966,” Stroshine said of Fouty. “He was looking at putting in a future storage building. He has a lot of pipe, since he does a lot of work for the refineries. With the cost of metal rising and the preponderance of theft and things in the area, he’d like to put that pipe inside a building for security purposes rather than leaving it out. I think it’s an appropriate use of the property. One of the benefits is that anything that has been outside will now be inside and will be a little neater. [Fouty] has been a good neighbor, a good citizen, a wonderful taxpayer within the city for a long time – 46 years.”
Stroshine said there was a meeting with neighbors living near Fouty’s property at the Bayshore Supper Club to respond to any concerns.
“We had a fairly good turnout – 12-13 people or neighbors that showed up to learn more about the SUE. They might have been afraid that we’re putting in another asphalt plant like you have further south on Wynn Road, which of course we’re not proposing. So we wanted to make sure we met with the neighbors,” he said.
City Administrator Mike Beazley said the city initially was concerned that the change would “perhaps be a little rough adjacent to a residential neighborhood.”
“We thought we could achieve something with them so they could stay and continue to thrive here and continue to be good neighbors,” said Beazley. “We thought this approach would be the best and most reasonable way to accomplish that. I think it meets all their needs and is protective of the neighbors and other source of uses that could go in there if they should sell downstream.
Councilman Sandy Bihn asked if the Fouty property extended to the shoreline of Lake Erie. Gilmore said it did.
“There was a lot of consideration given to the adjoining neighbors,” said Bihn, who is also Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper. “Was there any consideration what this may or may not do to the shoreline? I often looked at this parcel because we have the boat ramp right next to it and there is a lot of funding available for purchasing properties that are in the Lake Erie Watershed. Mr. Fouty runs a great business, he’s a great neighbor and he’s good to the community. I don’t dispute any of that. In fact, I strongly endorse it. But I just wonder if anyone has ever looked at the water aspects and if there’s an opportunity to even look at this before this gets constructed, whether there’s any funding, or if he might be able to economically benefit from it, perhaps relocate out of the watershed and come out ahead in both ways. Was there any discussion of the waterfront in this process at all?”
“We looked at the shoreline that was there,” said Stroshine, “and because of the Army Corps of Engineers redoing the flood zone in that area, we basically found that that portion close to the edge is one of the only areas on his property that is in any way in the flood zone. We’re trying not to do any building or development that close to the shoreline because we certainly don’t want to have to deal with all the restrictions and requirements that would come up from there.”
Bihn asked how many of the parcels are in the floodplain.
Stroshine said there are about six or seven lots.
Beazley said Fouty’s plans would not affect the waterfront.
“The floodplain does zigzag in and out of there. But nothing we do here tonight changes the Army Corps’ prohibitions and restrictions. That is a separate overlay that will exist no matter what,” said Beazley.
“It just seems that when these things come up, we don’t think out of the box, or think differently to try and help all in pursuing some things,” said Bihn. “I won’t oppose this, but afterwards I will look at some funding and talk to Mr. Fouty to see if there are any options because there are a lot of these areas that have been looked at for wetlands and shoreline restoration and other kinds of things. And certainly, we here have had our share of changes in our shoreline through the years that have not necessarily been conducive to good water quality. If you’re only planning on developing the front portion of it, perhaps there’s something along the water portion that could be either sectioned off or expanded where the boat dock and ramp are, and people could take a look at it and pursue some funding for it.”
Oregon council voted unanimously in favor of the SUE recommendation, with the following conditions:
• Development of a 50-foot landscaping buffer between the residential and industrial use;
• A building setback of 50-feet;
• No outside processing of materials or outdoor storage will be allowed on the area covered by the SUE;
• A limitation of two outbuildings with a limitation of 10,000-square-feet per building;
• Limited to access only on Bay Shore Road.