Hearing on proposed housing complex in Oregon extended to Feb. 18

Kelly J. Kaczala

        The Oregon Planning Commission extended a public hearing to Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. for a Special Use request to build a 217 unit multi-family housing complex at 4050 Navarre Avenue and 900 S. Lallendorf Road.
        The planning commission heard the matter at a meeting on Jan. 21. Due to concerns from the public, the hearing was extended.
        At the Jan. 21 meeting, there was considerable discussion on the proposal.
        The property would require a Special Use permit because it is currently zoned C-4, which allows commercial development, according to James Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning.
        The restrictions on height in a C-4 zoning district are limited to four stories or 60 feet, said Gilmore.
        “The proposal is to build multiple family dwellings in this spot, which is not allowed in a C-4. It would be allowed in an R-3. We felt as a city there would be more protection to the residential side of it if we used Special Use, which is more project specific – meaning only for this project, not just a straight R-3 zoning,” said Gilmore.
        The applicant is Harry Glitz for owner Val V LLC.
        The Project Review Committee suggested there should be a 50-foot rear building line setback. Within that 50 foot building setback, there should be a 25-foot landscaping buffer, according to Gilmore.
        If the Planning Commission recommends to city council that it approve the Special Use, the matter would go before council for final approval, said Gilmore.
         If the applicant receives three affirmative votes from the Planning Commission, only a mere majority of council is needed for approval, said Planning Commission Chairman Scott Winckowski.
        If the applicant does not get three affirmative votes, added Winckowski, then a super majority of council is needed for passage. A super majority would take six of seven council members to vote in favor of the Special Use for it to pass.
Done in phases
        Dallas Paul, of the NAI Harmon Group, Talmadge Road, Toledo, represented the applicant at the meeting.
        “The project that we’re proposing is a multi-family premier development, which is something the city had not seen recently. The site is 27 acres in totality. We are asking for a special use for the back 18.5 acres. That leaves the frontage for commercial development, which is currently zoned C-4,” said Paul.
        The project will be done in phases. The site plan shows 13 buildings, each of which show nine units. The units will be comprised of six two-bedroom units, and three one-bedroom units. They will range between 800 to 1,200 square feet.
        “The apartments will be market rate rent,” he said. “It will be the highest that the City of Oregon currently has,” said Paul, adding the highest rent would be $1,300 per month.
        A buffer is on the south side of the property next to a current residential community. There is a 50 foot setback and a 25 foot landscaping buffer, said Paul.
        “We don’t have the buffer or landscape design. We know we’re going to be required to put in a landscape buffer. We want to be sensitive to the community,” he said.
        The multi-family development is “a nice buffer from residential to residential multi-family, then to commercial,” said Paul. “We think that softens the uses in that particular area.”
         Not all apartments will have garages, but in the first phase, there will be 117 units and 88 garages, according to Paul.
        There would be an entrance and exit off Lallendorf Road and an entrance and exit off Navarre Avenue. A retention area would also be on the property.
        “This will be a nice, mixed use premier development,” he said.      “It will be managed professionally,” said Paul of the $11 million investment.
        The time frame to break ground if the Special Use is approved, is either June or July.
Public concerns
        Some in the audience expressed concerns about the project, including traffic congestion.
        Mayor Mike Seferian, who holds a seat on the Planning Commission, said the property has attracted commercial interests that would likely add much more traffic than the multi-family development being proposed.
        “Each of those commercial projects would be generating anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 cars per day. From the way it is zoned now, the potential traffic is probably 4-5 times more than if it would go to their proposed deal,” said Seferian.
        Arlene Stobinski, of Townhouse Drive, said she would like to write down her questions and bring them back in a month after she’s had time to think about it. Her main concern was traffic and traffic patterns.
        George Mathews, S. Lallendorf Road, also expressed concerns about traffic flow and the number of people that would be living in the area.
        Gary Row, of Warner Way, was concerned about proper buffering at the site. He thought it needed to be looked at both horizontally and vertically for the privacy of residents in the area. He said everyone in the room who had a vested interest like himself should be given the opportunity to raise questions.
        He said more time should be taken to design the buffer and the site plan layout. It could include privacy hills and drainage. The plan could be altered to provide a rising buffer to the units themselves and maybe look at relocating the garages.
        Public Service Director Paul Roman was asked if there were any city services that would not be provided with the addition or if there would be any burden put upon the city for water and sewage service.
        Roman said he didn’t see anything that would stop any type of development at the site, whether commercial or residential.
        Lallendorf has a very large storm sewer in it, he said. Regarding traffic concerns, he did not think a traffic light was warranted. The building on the site plan closest to Lallendorf would likely have to be further away from the road as there is a 100 foot setback, which is there for future widening. In terms of water and sanitary, they have all the utilities they need from Navarre and Lallendorf.
        Debbie Melecosky, Warner Way, expressed concerns with the high density apartments and the parking spaces shown on the site plan.
        Harry Martin, Warner Way, was concerned about property taxes and property values with rental property going in as opposed to a developer building condos for people to own.
        Seferian said the city is faced with the question often.
        “If you have well developed high end apartments, which we have been told we are in dire need of in the city, property values will go up,” said Seferian.
        Norm Henney, of Warner Way, asked if the public could be provided with an overall final copy of the site plan so they could argue and fight for their sunshine and their privacy. He also asked if there was a limit on how high the buildings could go.
        Gilmore said, as the property is currently zoned at C-4, someone could come in without any special zoning approval from the planning commission or city council and put in a 60 foot tall building or four story hotel.
        Paul said he would recommend that the hearing be tabled on behalf of the developer so that the comments could be considered. They will cooperate within reason to accommodate residents’ concerns expressed at the meeting.


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