|First Measure 37 test case in Argay
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Editors note: The following is a brief roundup of stories from veteran Mid-County Memo beat reporter Lee Perlman.
In the compendium of news items he reports on how an Argay neighborhood property owner becomes Portlands first Measure 37 case scheduled for a City Council hearing in June and developer Ted Gilbert gets an earful from the design commission about his Gateway development.
The meetings to re-design and re-work both 102nd and 122nd Avenues are set and Glenhaven Park will become East Portlands new Skatepark.
The 335-unit development on the old Shriners hospital site on 82nd Avenue at Sandy Boulevard, Columbia Knoll, is open for business; 82nd Avenue will also have a new Asian-American shopping center across from Madison High School.
Finally, the Gateway urban renewal committee, known, as PAC isnt happy with spending $5 million as their share of the 205 light rail system as only one station could even be called in Gateway.
Argay produces first Measure 37 test case
Ruth Pruitt doesnt like to be photographed, especially since shes facing minor facial surgery soon, but on June 1 the whole state will be watching her.
The city recently enacted a procedure for claims made against it under the terms of Ballot Measure 37. After a staff review, each case is heard by the Portland City Council. At 2 p.m. Pruitts case, involving her property at 14333 N.E. Whitaker St. in the Argay neighborhood, will be the first.
Under the terms of Measure 37, passed statewide by the voters last year, property owners are entitled to relief if they try, and are denied, to develop their land in ways prohibited by local regulation, and if the regulation in question was enacted after the property owners acquired the land. If it is determined to be so, the local jurisdiction must either allow the development to take place, or compensate the owner for the loss of value of the land. Exactly how this is done is a matter for each local jurisdiction to decide, and each is handling it differently.
Under Portlands new procedures, the claimant must first document the facts of the case. Then a committee that includes city functionaries and neighborhood activists reviews the case and makes a recommendation. Then it is forwarded to Council.
Like most of the 16 claims filed in Portland so far, Pruitts issue is environmental overlays on her property. Unlike most of them, her property is zoned IG2, for industrial use.
The four-acre property is at the end of dead end road, and currently there are a lot of transients, thefts, dirty things going on, Pruitt told the Memo. She wanted to construct a storage facility - Crammitt Inn - that would have a security guard on site whose presence would be a boost to the area.
Unfortunately, she says, the sale didnt become final until three weeks after new environmental zones were put in place. Part of the property has an E overlay, which prohibits development of any kind, and part has a C overlay that limits it. Pruitt is left with only half an acre to use, and thats not enough, she says.
Because she did not technically own the property at the time the overlays were put in place, and thus did not meet the letter of Measure 37, staff is recommending that Council not award Pruitt either a code waiver or compensation. Because she was one of the first ten claimants to file, before the citys procedure was in place, she will not be charged the $250 fee the procedure calls for, nor will Council have the option of charging her for the citys expenses, as future unsuccessful claimants may be.
Pruitt says she expects to lose on June 1, and that her next step will be to file suit against the city in circuit court. She has also offered to exchange her land for an adjacent parcel that she once sold to the city for use as a storm water holding pond.
At press time there were 16 Measure 37 claims against the city, and Hannah Kuhn of mayor Tom Potters office thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are waiting to see how the process plays out, she says.
Gilbert seeks design advisory session
Developer Ted Gilbert will appear before the Portland Design Commission on the afternoon of June 2 for what is known as a Design Advisory. In a sort of dry run, he will get a chance to learn from the commission what they think the issues are with a development he is pursuing - a four-story building with 114,000 square feet of offices and 39,000 square feet of retail at 887 N.E. 102nd Ave. To the north will be a surface parking lot that Gilbert says will be the site for future development.
Of the surface lot, which Gilbert concedes is not part of the vision for a future urban Gateway, he says, Today in Gateway structured parking doesnt pencil, and theres no tax increment funds available from the urban renewal district. Rather than do nothing, we want to get started and build up the tax increment funds. He points out that surface lots are allowed by right in district. Of the project in general he says, I like to think were making progress.
102nd Avenue project moves forward
The 102nd Avenue project, the redesign of the street between Northeast Weidler and Southeast Washington Streets, is moving forward. A public Open House drew about 20 people, half as many as turned up at the Open House in March. People had questions and some concerns, but nobody said definitely you shouldnt be doing this, or you should be doing something else, project manager Dan Layden told the Memo.
The new design calls for a bike lane on each side and the removal of on-street parking on the east side of the avenue between Northeast Weidler and East Burnside Streets, and on the west side, south of Burnside. There will be some new traffic islands installed in selected locations where they would make pedestrian movement easier and safer while not interfering with auto access to properties. Ginkgo trees will be planted on the street, other amenities installed, and sidewalks expanded to 15 feet as new development make this available.
At one point, Layden told the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, the city considered a reduction in traffic lanes.
It became pretty clear pretty early the community didnt want that, he said. The city has also abandoned the idea of installing left turns at Northeast Weidler Street. Its pretty difficult to do, Layden said.
Were turning it into a different kind of street, he said, one that accommodates existing uses but also provides a better pedestrian environment. He anticipates construction will begin spring 2006.
MEMO Advertising | MEMO Archives | MEMO Web Neighbors | MEMO Staff | Home