By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
A requirement that both a large discount grocer and two mixed use buildings in Area C must be ready to occupy simultaneously may be nixed by the Keizer City Council.
The stated goal of what has become known as a concurrency requirement is to ensure both two mixed use towers – slated to be used for retail, medical and office uses – actually get built along with the large format store, which is likely to be Walmart. Councilors felt a four-year window originally proposed by city staff was too lenient.
Now councilors have voted to loosen the same requirement they voted for less than a month ago.
At the Monday, April 4 Keizer City Council meeting the council unanimously chose to require the buildings be under construction at the same time – and that the developers must show “irrevocable” funding for the mixed use buildings.
“That means they have to have their permits, they have to be out of the ground,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.
“We’re glad they did that,” said Alan Roodhouse, one of the Area C co-developers. “We explained to city staff (the previous requirement) didn’t work because we would not have been able to go forward with the project.”
The Keizer City Council has asked city staff to prepare an order approving the big box plan, but has yet to formally approve it. The concurrency requirement would be part of that order.
Councilor David McKane raised the issues, saying what the council decided on last month “was a little rigid… I want to make sure the mixed retail is built.”
“I don’t want people thinking this is an end-run,” said Councilor Jim Taylor. “The gist of what we’re trying to do, this still accomplishes.”
“Our intent is to comply with the condition,” Roodhouse said. “The devil is in the details of how you define concurrent.”
In other business:
• The council voted unanimously to apply for a boat ramp grant from the Oregon Marine Board.
The theoretical single-lane boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park is expected to cost about $1 million, and Brown said previously-obtained permits to build said ramp expire in 2012.
What’s the catch? The city would have to come up with a $250,000 match, which could come from parks system development charges.
Richard Walsh, a former city councilor who strongly advocated for the park’s inception, said the boat ramp was fundamental to getting state grants.
“In order for us to get the millions in grants we had to represent the boat ramp to make the regional significance of this very clear to our neighbors,” Walsh testified.
The council authorized Eppley to apply for the grant, but Councilor Mark Caillier – a retired Salem Police officer – said a boat ramp would likely put an additional burden on police, who already say they’re short-staffed, and would cause noise complaints.
“It’s not just 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. either, It’s 4 in the morning and 10 o clock at night,” Caillier said. He added that shallow waters just north of the proposed boat ramp site would prevent propeller-powered boats from going further north, creating a pool of boats on the Willamette River in Keizer.
Councilor Jim Taylor countered that the Boat Ramp Task Force considered these issues and recommended a small number of parking spaces at the ramp along with reducing the proposed ramp from two lanes to one.
• They’re moving money around at Keizer City Hall, but staff said it’s a result of a good thing.
About $60,900 in more-than-budgeted revenues from the Keizer Civic Center will be applied towards repaying the city’s Transportation fund along with paying additional costs for on-site personnel. To be precise $40,900 will go towards repaying the transportation fund while $10,000 will be put towards personnel services.