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Court upholds LUBA’s Area C decision; city must reconsider development

Of the Keizertimes

The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the state land use board’s ruling that the city must reconsider its decision allowing the next phase of Keizer Station.

The decision from the Land Use Board of Appeals was affirmed without opinion on Wednesday, November 30.

It may well further delay a project likely to include Walmart along with possible offices and apartments. It’s come to be known as Area C. The Keizer City Council will have to reconsider the issue with the guidelines LUBA referees outlined in its decision from earlier this year.

Appeal options for the city and developers were not immediately clear.

One root of LUBA’s decision harkens back to a council decision made in early 2008, when councilors modified the mixed use section of city development code to allow a store larger than 10,000 square feet; indeed, stores up to 120,000 square feet were allowed after the change. Councilors required that a store bigger than 80,000 square feet could be built only with a corresponding amount of mixed use structures; those could be anything from office space to retail to apartments.

But LUBA referees ruled a condition councilors later approved – one that required construction only begin on surrounding buildings before the large-format store can open – contradicts the intent the same body wrote into the code in 2008.

The decision also states the city erred when opting not to use local traffic data in making its decision. The city and developer argued the city can waive or modify required aspects of a traffic impact analysis. But LUBA referees felt the city failed to explain why staff used traffic data from the Traffic Engineer’s Trip Generation Manual that was for a building smaller than the one proposed, and opted not to use local traffic statistics.

More later; parties involved could not immediately be reached for comment.