By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
A familiar project with a revamped look will be discussed at Keizer City Hall once again next week.
A public hearing is scheduled during Monday’s 7 p.m. Keizer City Council meeting to discuss Keizer Station Area C.
The hearing comes in light of a new version of Area C submitted by developers in September altering one of the most controversial parts of the original 2011 proposal. Instead of the original plan for a 116,000 square foot large format store, the new plan calls for a 72,000 square foot building with two retail spaces and 83 additional units of multi-family development.
The plan was submitted by Chuck Sides of E Village, LLC. The council’s April 2011 decision was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) for the city to do more review and modification regarding the traffic engineer’s analysis as well as the timing of a condition of approval requiring concurrency. Those two subjects are what councilors will be looking at Monday.
Sides indicated Tuesday he has plans for either possible outcome.
“If they don’t approve, they are out new revenue for the city and we’ll keep plugging along,” Sides said. “If the majority of the councilors don’t like it, we will ask what they don’t like.
“If it is approved, we would go out in the marketplace and try to find tenants that wish to come in,” Sides added later. “There is no timeline. Tenants have two questions: they want to know when can I move in and how much will it cost. It is a bad economy. Everyone is trying to survive. To get people to make a significant investment in a down market takes a lot of research on their part. It’s just a cycle you go through.”
Nate Brown, Community Development director for Keizer, chuckled when asked if he expected a healthy amount of public comment Monday.
“Oh I do,” said Brown, noting he has been keeping the Keep Keizer Livable “If they approve, there is an appeal period of 20 days,” Brown said. “After that, (the developers will) go about meeting conditions and figure out how to do what their master plan requires.”
And if there is no approval?
“They can vote to not accept changes and say why not,” Brown said. “But they have already said that is consistent with the neighborhood and now the impact is less. They could also continue the hearing. The remand has a statutory timeline of 90 days, which I believe expires Dec. 20.
“The timeline is there to keep a tight rope on the process,” Brown added. “We can’t start over. That’s not the deal.”
Alan Roodhouse, co-developer for the project, said there is “no way of predicting” how people opposed to the original plan will react to the new plan. Roodhouse does, however, have a prediction for how councilors will act.
“I would guess the city council would be pleased with the changes made,” he said. “They want to see Area C developed just as we do.”
Roodhouse noted plans were altered due to the topics being addressed Monday.
“LUBA remanded it on two issues they didn’t feel the city did the right job on,” he said. “The changes in the plan and the material subjected are in response to those two issues. We’re correcting the plan to be consistent with what LUB A wanted.”
Kevin Hohnbaum, co-founder of Keep Keizer Livable, noted the reduced size of the plan means past issues are no longer relevant. However, he still has high concerns about traffic impact.
“It’s not just the increased traffic,” Hohnbaum said. “If you look at plan, the amount of the stacking allowed, it only allows for eight cars which makes no sense with 190 apartment units and the retail stores. It’s ludicrous to believe only eight cars will try to turn in at one time. It’s already a backloaded intersection and this will only make it worse.”