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New plan for Area C?


Of the Keizertimes

A new plan could be in the works for Keizer Station Area C.

During the Sept. 15 Keizer City Council meeting, Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, told councilors a group was coming Tuesday, Sept. 23, for a pre-application conference “to revise the plan of the Area C master plan.”

Brown preferred the amendment come directly to council for several reasons, such as councilors having the background and familiarity with the issues, the decisions including the ones in response to Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) remands having already been developed after “lengthy and arduous” work, the past decisions and conditions largely remaining intact, the applicant being under an “extremely tight timeline,” and the council being the final decision body in master plan applications.

Plans for Area C – at Chemawa Road NE and Lockhaven Drive NE – were last submitted back in September 2012, with a main retail space of 77,000 square feet, 11 apartment buildings and a medical office building of 53,000 square feet.

That was an amendment to an earlier plan calling for an 116,000 square foot building, believed to be a Walmart.

The 2012 plan was submitted by controversial developer Chuck Sides, who acknowledged the revised plan was “cleaned up” to mitigate land use planning concerns.

“Obviously the economy has taken a hit, and there’s not the demand for the amount of retail space that once was,” Sides said at the time.

Sam Litke, senior planner for Keizer, said since that submission two years ago Sides had sold some of the property to Larry Eppling, who in turn sold the land to the group that met with city officials on Tuesday. Trees on the property were also taken down since the last plan was submitted.

“This is a different group than before,” Litke said. “This is the first plan (for that site) in two years.”

Following the Tuesday meeting, Litke said he was unable to share any information.

“Our pre-app process allows for the applicant to either allow us to disclose any information or for it to remain confidential,” Litke said. “The applicant requested that it remain confidential at this time so I have to honor that request.”

In his report to councilors last week, Brown noted rules regarding Area C remain the same.

“It is anticipated that the conditions of approval will remain intact, with the very same conditions governing the development of the site as have been established,” he said. “Our code does not make provision for an amendment to approved Keizer Station Master Plan approvals. Staff is strongly urging council to hear this amendment request directly.”

Brown said the plan is to have the issue come to council in November.

A meeting on the topic, which has long been a hot button issue, would include a public hearing.

“When we went through the process with Area C, the root canal, any changes now you say won’t be significant,” councilor Jim Taylor said. “Are there any changes you feel we might not be comfortable with?”

“Do you expect me to look in my crystal ball?” Brown replied. “There will undoubtedly be some concerns expressed, along the lines of the ones from all along.”

Meanwhile, there is still no update for plans at Area B, in particular the gravel lot at the corner of the corner of Lockhaven and McLeod Lane. In April 2011, the administrative director of Salem Radiology announced plans to build.

“Our plan is to develop a medical office building out there,” R.A. Neitzel told the Keizertimes at the time. “(Salem Radiology) has been looking for the right property for several years. We’re quite pleased about the location and the opportunity to be part of the Keizer community.”

However, those plans never moved forward.

“There’s still nothing for Area B,” Litke said this week.