Lake Oswego Braces For Wave Of Public Testimony Over Developers Project

Dated: September 22 2014

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The Lake Oswego City Council is anticipating more than a little public testimony when it convenes this week to consider a major downtown development project.

The council has set aside not just one night, or two, but three nights this week for public testimony on the plan to develop Block 137, more well-known as the Wizer Block, in the heart of downtown. The first public hearing kicks off tonight at 6 p.m.

At issue is an appeal from developer Evergreen Group LLC, which submitted a proposal to develop the property — long home to Wizer’s Oswego Foods — into a three-building, 290,000-square foot mixed-use development. As a result of council input and citizen pushback, the firm, headed up by Portland developer Patrick Kessi, revised its original proposal earlier this year to scale back the size and scope of the original project.

The revisions removed a fifth story, cut out 21 residential units and increased the amount of commercial space by about 30 percent. In its latest iteration, the project would include 201 residential units, six live-work units and 36,500 square feet of commercial space.
The changes did little to quell opposition to the project, which opponents have criticized as being too large and not in line with the city’s village character. Opponents, including those organized in the grassroots Save Our Village organization, also worry about added traffic and congestion in the city’s downtown core.
Following two nights of public testimony in July, the city’s Development Review Commission narrowly rejected Evergreen’s application, saying that the plan’s ground floor residential spaces don’t gel with the city’s Urban Design Plan and that two of the three buildings don’t fit the “small scale structure” definition.
Evergreen’s appeal claims the DRC was incorrect in its rejections and that the project actually does meet all the appropriate criteria.The city council’s decision on the project, however it may decide, could also be appealed to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

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