Month: September 2010

A ban on big box stores

By KEVIN HOHNBAUM A little over two years ago, Keizer City Council changed the development code in Keizer to allow large format stores anywhere in Keizer that is zoned for mixed use.  This change was made in spite of many hundreds of Keizer citizens testifying, writing letters, signing petitions and speaking out opposed to the change. A local citizens group, Keep Keizer Livable, disagrees with the concept that big box retailers can co-exist side by side with neighborhoods and has proposed the an initiative that would limit retail buildings to no more than 65,000 square feet unless it is in Area A of Keizer Station. The intention of the proposed change is not to eliminate the ability of retailers to locate in Keizer but to limit their ability to negatively impact our neighborhoods and roads.  Area A of Keizer Station is the appropriate place for big box stores.  There is no impact on neighborhoods and traffic stays focused within a contained area in which road patterns have already been created to accommodate the increase in cars. We need to protect and enhance our local businesses.  The change in development code made two years ago allows a big box store to be built not only in areas zoned mixed use but also on land that is currently vacant or as part of a redevelopment project on River Road. According to...

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Let merits be heard

To the Editor: I must protest because Cathy Clark, despite her prestigious position as a Keizer city councilor, is out of order.  I refer to “A big box ban has consequences” (Keizertimes, Aug. 27). To use Robert’s Rules of Order as a metaphor, what she is doing is asking that no citizen second the motion to consider big box store options.  According to the rules there can be no discussion of a motion until it has received a second and isn’t that what we have here?  Some local residents want the public to consider changes before council changes become a fait accompli and they are asking for our second to consider it publicly. My point is that the time to discuss an initiative’s merit is after it has been accepted as an issue for the voters, after it has met the requirement of a certain number of signatures by registered voters.  To argue the merits of an issue before it even qualifies for a vote is, in my opinion, the same as trying to stifle public opinion.  Anyone that signs the petition at this point is saying, ‘Hey community, let’s talk publicly about the pros and cons, then vote.  Let’s vote on the issue, not whether to talk about the issue.’ Roy Duncan...

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Think before signing

To the Editor: I am outraged, indignant, and mad.  In the past week I have seen a few articles in the papers, one of the articles stated Keep Keizer Livable (KKL) received $1,000 from two different unions.  Keep Keizer Livable is being NIMBY (not in my back yard) about this big box store.  I can’t imagine that the crimes that the large retail stores are supposedly to bring will outweigh the amount of jobs and resources that would bring.  Let’s think about this for a minute. To build this large building it would require a large contractor probably with unionized workers.   Some will bring their lunches but others will eat at fast food joints—revenue to the eateries. The contractor will need to bring equipment with them and building materials.  They will most likely get some of the materials locally to reduce building cost.   Money will go to the local building material vendors. Trucks will be rumbling by which require fuel adding more money with fuel taxes, the workers’ personal vehicle may need to be repaired locally so more money to the local shops and fueling stations . Taxes on a lot will be less than taxes on retail store—revenue to Marion County and the city of Keizer reducing the burden to the other taxpayers. Depending on the store, jobs will be created.  If it’s a chain store maybe some...

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Let the people decide

To the Editor: If the Keep Keizer Livable group gets the size restriction for retail stores in Keizer on the ballot it will also be a referendum on the Urban Growth Boundary debate, the Mayor and Cathy Clark.  What started off as  “No Wal-Mart in My Neighborhood” turned out to be something much larger. Mayor Christopher and Councilor Clark made their views very clear in articles they wrote in local newspapers. It appears they want to deny the voters in Keizer a chance to have a say in the city’s future. The mayor listed several big box stores that require more than 65,000 square feet of space. The mayor was also quick to point out the cost of the election. She said it will cost $20,000. This price may be correct if the initiative is the only measure on a ballot. The actual cost may be less to Keizer residents. The Urban Growth Boundary is going to be a large issue in the near future. During the visioning exercise that many Keizer citizens attended, the question about Keizer growth came up. Many people stated they enjoyed the small town feeling that is Keizer. Unfortunately, Keizer is not a small town and will have to grow and have two high schools. The question is: What type of growth do we want? Having a vote on our future is democracy in...

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