Oregon council will hold a public hearing on Monday at 8 p.m. in council chambers on another request for commercial zoning on Navarre Avenue.
The parcels, at 5508 and 5528 Navarre Ave., have R-1 Low Density Residential and C-2 General Commercial split zoning. The owners, David and Dianne Jaeger, are requesting the entire parcel be zoned C-2 General Commercial.
Council at its last meeting on June 9 approved a similarly split zoning parcel just west of the Jaeger parcels at 5464 Navarre for TESCO, a national bus distributor owned by Noel Graham. The zoning change saw opposition from some nearby residential property owners, who did not want commercial zoning so close to their homes. The city, as a compromise, will develop a landscaping plan that will act as a buffer between the residences and the commercially zoned parcel.
Mayor Mike Seferian said last week he did not think there would be any more requests for commercial zoning along that stretch of Navarre Avenue after the hearing on the Jaeger parcels.
“I think after that, you won’t see much action,” said Seferian. He also didn’t expect opposition on the Jaeger parcels.
“Most of the parcels are zoned commercial, anyway. Those people opposed to the TESCO property had to come to the reality of what they were living in close proximity to. But we agreed to use some of our tree enhancement programs in the city to landscape along that stretch, and provide a little buffer,” he said.
Jaeger manufactures tow trucks on one of the parcels, said Seferian.
“They are shipped all over the country. He has a very active business,” said Seferian. “He’s already started cleaning up the property. That’s why he was getting the zoning, because he wanted to make the property look better. Those neighbors will be a skeptical for a little while. I think they’re more worried about, if the zoning is changed to commercial, what more will come. But there is undeveloped commercial property out there already. It doesn’t prohibit them from keeping commercial business from coming in right now just because it looks bad. Almost the whole area is commercial right now. Only the Jaegers and Grahams have businesses there. But if you went there tomorrow and bought 35 acres of undeveloped commercial property, you could put whatever business C-2 allows, and residents could do nothing about it. If you build your house half a mile away from a state route, I can’t believe you would think that all the new development between you and the state route is going to be residential housing. You know it’s going to be commercial.”
Seferian said he thinks the residents who are now opposed will eventually adapt to commercial zoning.
“There was a two hour public hearing for those people to vent and get it out of their system when TESCO wanted the commercial zoning change. The city will be involved with them and try to protect some of the invasion of commercial property. As they look at it more, it’s not as bad as they’re envisioning. As a matter of fact, Graham and Jaeger, after the zoning changes, will spend money and clean the places up. They will certainly look better than when the residents built their houses there. The businesses let their property zoned residential go to weeds because they had no use for it. Now they want to expand, and the properties will be cleaned up for commercial.”
Seferian understands neighbors’ concerns, but he believes they are unfounded.
“I sympathize with them. But they have a fear of the unknown. They think their $300,000 house will not be worth $150,000. They think their property values will drop. Most of the time, the fear factor some residents have not been realized. I think it will be no concern to them after a few years pass.”
Mary Ann Achter, of South Stadium Road, planned to attend the hearing on Monday to oppose the Jaegers’ zoning change request. “I will definitely be there to discuss the parcel. You’ll hear me as to why I oppose it,” Achter said at the June 9 meeting.
She expressed opposition to the zoning change for the TESCO property, saying she did not want another car lot in the city.
Scott Winckowski, chairman of the Oregon Planning Commission, said at a Commission meeting in April that city council lost an opportunity to adopt the original 2020 plan that called for a commercial district 1,200 feet off of Navarre Avenue on both sides of the road, from I-280 to the corporation line, east of Stadium Road. He said it would have incorporated Graham’s and the Jaegers’ properties and would have kept council and the Commission from having to consider commercial zoning requests from separate property owners.