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KEIZER CITY COUNCIL
Monday, September 19, 2016
Robert L. Simon Council Chambers
1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. FLAG SALUTE
4. SPECIAL ORDERS OF BUSINESS
a. Swearing In – Keizer Police Officer Roland (RJ) Farrens
b. Recognition of 2015-2016 Youth Councilor Siri Scales
5. COMMITTEE REPORTS
6. PUBLIC TESTIMONY
This time is provided for citizens to address the Council on any matters other than those on the agenda scheduled for public hearing.
7. PUBLIC HEARINGS
8. ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION
a. Remand of Comp Plan/Zone Change/Lot Line Adjustment 2014-11 (Herber)
9. CONSENT CALENDAR
a. RESOLUTION – Authorizing City Manager to Sign Contract with Aramark
b. RESOLUTION – Authorizing the City Manager to Enter Into Lease Agreement with Neopost USA Inc. for City Postage Machine
c. Approval of September 6, 2016 Regular Session Minutes
10.COUNCIL LIAISON REPORTS
This time is provided to allow the Mayor, City Council members, or staff an opportunity to bring new or old matters before the Council that are not on tonight’s agenda.
To inform the Council of significant written communications.
September 26, 2016 – 5:45 p.m. – City Council Work Session
• Storm Water Permit Update
October 3, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. – City Council Regular Session
October 10, 2016 – 5:45 p.m. – City Council Work Session
October 12, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. – City Council Special Session with City of Salem, Marion County, and Polk County
• Urban Growth Boundary Issue Pertaining to Willamette River Crossing
October 19, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. – City Council Regular Session
Upon request, auxiliary aids and/or special services will be provided. To request services, please contact us at (503)390-3700 or through Oregon Relay at 1-800-735-2900 at least two working days (48 hours) in advance.
Keizer residents continued a drumbeat of opposition to a proposed rezoning of the area commonly known as “the cow pasture” in documents submitted to the city.
Residents had until Monday, Aug. 29, to submit rebuttals to the new evidence provided by the Herber family, the owners of the property west of Verda Lane Northeast between Chemawa Road northeast and Dearborn Avenue Northeast. The Herber family is seeking approval of city officials to rezone the land and pave the way for a new high-density development in the form of 112 apartments.
The Keizer City Council rejected the proposition in October 2014, but the family returned earlier this year with a slightly modified plan calling for eight fewer apartments and a new look designed to help the apartments fit in among the residential neighborhoods surrounding it.
The city council is expected to make another decision on the rezone proposal at its Sept. 19 meeting. No public testimony will be allowed at the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road N.E.
Karen Okada provided the most lengthy and detailed rebuttal of the proposal. While the plan proponents have suggested that the decision to rezone the property for apartments was based on Keizer’s housing needs and inventories, the need for residential housing is greater than the need for high density housing, Okada wrote.
She also contested issues revolving around school impacts. While the schools will not turn away additional students, “putting a 112-unit apartment complex on a busy road – right next to a roundabout, where traffic never stops – is not a smart or logical choice to make.”
Okada contacted Salem-Keizer School District in an effort to determine just what the impact to schools might be. The results contradict the 41 new students projected in the rezone proposal.
“I contacted the SKSD to find out how many students lived at Keizer Terrace Apartments, which are directly across the street from Kennedy (Elementary) School. There were 124 students from the 153-unit complex – the ratio of students to housing was 81 percent. If the 81 percent ration were applied (to the new complex), there would be 91 new students from this property – more than twice the amount currently planned by the school district,” she wrote.
Okada concluded with an analysis of the traffic impact.
“The impact of an additional 100 cars, and probably closer to 200 cars, from this property, driving every day on Verda Lane, will not be absorbed by the addition of the roundabout. It will just add more cars to the already long lines that currently exist,” she wrote.
The rezone plans call for a cap of 750 trips per day, but Okada said it is unreasonable to expect such a limit to be enforced on future residents, particularly given that a 112-apartment complex is expected to generate an average of 745 trips per day.
“The report submitted by the engineering firm hired by the family has a trip generation cap that will be immediately exceeded once the apartment complex is fully occupied,” Okada wrote.
In the new evidence provided to the city last month, attorney Wallace Lien and Mark Grenz of Multi/Tech Engineering, suggested that city officials grant more weight to the testimony of “experts” rather than the voices of concerned residents when it came to impacts on traffic and schools in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Resident Laura Wells took issue with both the substance of the development and the tone of its proponents.
“I realize that growth is inevitable, but it must be done tastefully and thoughtfully, and 112 apartments on the Verda farm property is neither,” Wells wrote. “The attorney said, “Schools’ lack of capacity would still exist …” well that’s just an indifferent and irresponsible statement. It just adds to the evidence that these folks don’t care about anything but lining their pockets.”
One of the reasons, public testimony has dragged on for months is the status of the farmhouse that rests on the property. It was likely built around 1860 making it one of the oldest structures in Keizer. A report filed with the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation lists the site as potentially historic, but further investigation and several public hearings would be required for it to attain an official designation.
Multi/Tech Engineering provided a structural assessment in its latest wave of documents that claim the home is “unsalvageable.”
Deanna Fuller wrote that the source of the study could not be trusted.
“It seems to me to be a conflict of interests to have the developer be the one to decide the professional assessment. Of course he would deem it unsalvageable. He has bigger plans for monetary profit and that is his job,” she wrote.
Resident Eamon Bishop suggested that significant changes in the zoning of the property require a re-examination of the flood plain map under the National Flood Insurance Program and Endangered Species Act. In fact, the existing house was likely built on the ridge due to the regular overflow flooding of Claggett Creek during Oregon’s rainy season.
Resident Alan Kendall called upon the council to recognize what would be lost if the rezoning is approved.
“The introduction of high density housing onto Verda Land, and its attendant crowding, is more than a slow degradation, it is a huge step in the wrong direction,” Kendall wrote. “Of all the proponents of this plan, the Herber family, the hired attorney and the hired engineering firm, no one has a motive to benefit this neighborhood. If this proposal is approved and the apartment complex built, after the profits are divvied up and the proponents are long gone … only the residents of Verda Lane and environs will remain behind to deal with any consequences.”