Oregon City Council has set a public hearing on April 23 in council chambers to consider a permanent Special Use Exemption in a non-agricultural area at 6338 Brown Rd. for the purpose of housing livestock.
The Planning Commission last April had recommended approval of a temporary SUE in an R-1 Low Density Residential District for the applicants and property owners, Mohamed Tawil and his wife Nabil.
The Tawils had initially requested to house two miniature ponies, four pheasants, four peacocks and 25 chickens at the site.
Several of the Tawils’ neighbors at the Planning Commission last year had been opposed to the zoning request, mostly out of concern that possible noise and odor from the site might drift onto their properties. The Planning Commission then voted in favor of a compromise that granted Tawil a temporary SUE to raise 20 chickens on his property for one year, and that it would be reviewed by the Commission and council upon expiration of the permit. Mayor Mike Seferian, who has a seat on the Commission, had proposed the compromise at the time, saying he wanted to give Tawil a chance to prove to his neighbors he can control noise and odor.
John Trendell, of Brown Road, said at a March 26 council meeting that he was opposed to granting a permanent SUE to the Tawils, saying they have been out of compliance with the temporary SUE by housing 25 chickens and a rooster.
In addition, Trendell said questions have been raised about the SUE being spot zoning.
“By taking a look at the city’s zoning map, it is obvious that the so-called spot zoning on the map just happens to correspond to neighborhoods throughout the city,” said Trendell. “Our neighborhood was created 40 years ago, long before the city realized that residential neighborhoods were going to pop up throughout the area. We do not want our neighborhood turned into a barn yard.”
He said he experienced the “awful smell” of the chickens twice last August, and again during warm weather a week before the council meeting last month.
“I go by the property all the time,” said Councilman Mike Sheehy. He wanted to discuss the matter further at the public hearing. “I’m going to take an unbiased look at it.”
“Having just heard of the first objections, I would like to look at the lay of the land and see what there is to offer before I make any rash decisions,” said Council President Tom Susor.
“My position on property owners is that I give them a lot more latitude than I give the neighbors,” added Susor. “I do that simply from being a property owner. I understand the zoning and I understand restrictions. But I also understand that you have a large piece of property, and if you keep your property up, you should be afforded the ability to do what you want with your property, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the neighbors.”
The property, surrounded by agricultural zoning on two sides, is on the south side of Brown Road, west of Bury Road. The lot size is 336 feet by 282 feet, with a seven-and-a-half foot concrete wall surrounding the backyard portion that the owners say will encompass cages and noise. There are 230 feet between the wall and the street. Plans last year had called for a pole barn to be constructed along the chicken area.