Of the Keizertimes

Coming soon to the Keizer City Council: discussion on land infill.

If that doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic, spare some sympathy for members of the Keizer Planning Commission.

“The last three meetings of the Planning Commission were spent on land infill,” commissioner Jonathon Thompson told councilors on July 20. “We talked a lot about design standards. We talked about garage and carport openings and how much can be in front to accommodate narrow lots. We talked about lot size.”

Thompson said there was also good discussion about necessary reporting.

“We spent a lot of time on reporting requirements, i.e. how much information needs to be submitted to the city,” he said. “We tried to balance the needs of neighbors and developers. The standards we came to are ones you could probably draft up at your kitchen table. We also want to make sure infill is compatible with neighbors.”

Thompson noted the city’s Housing Needs Analysis completed a couple of years ago showed the city doesn’t have enough housing to meet future growth.

“We don’t want to create a hardship on those trying to help with that,” he said. “We’re trying to find the balance. I hope you have as much fun going through it as we did.”

Mayor Cathy Clark expressed her appreciation for the “highly detailed work” done by the commission.

“We have infill happening right now,” Clark said. “Projects submitted now are under the current code. How will this impact infill applications in the future in regards to density and infill?”

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, noted new code would not apply retroactively.

“The design standards are being increased significantly,” he said. “It’s consistent with the kind of construction we see going on. The details are lengthy. There are some concerns and anxieties out there and we will hear those in the hearing.”

In other business July 20:

• An update was given on the roundabout project scheduled to be constructed next fall at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane. Councilor Kim Freeman mentioned the intersection near the end of the meeting.

“I want to give a shout out to Bill Lawyer for fixing the hole at the four-way stop at Chemawa and Verda, but it is still a nightmare,” Freeman said. “The intersection is not very nice.”

Lawyer, the Public Works director for Keizer, said there’s a reason why the city’s part of the project – moving water lines prior to other entities doing their work – was slowed.

“We ran into a huge concrete blob as we tried to put the water main next to it,” Lawyer said. “We didn’t anticipate it. Then we ran into another 24-inch concrete blob. We had to pull back and reevaluate. We cold patched it until we can figure out the next step.”

Speaking of the roundabout project, Lawyer said he received notification the Oregon Department of Transportation now has possession of four of the five parcels of land needed for right-of-way acquisition, with the last one done pending a mandatory 30-day waiting period.

• Police chief John Teague noted the annual National National Out is on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Information about locations is available on the Keizer Police Department’s home page (http://www.keizer.org/Police/).

“Smaller cities do it at one park, but we decided the spirit of the evening is neighbors meeting neighbors,” Teague said. “We had about three dozen locations last year and expect the same this year.”

Mayor Clark mentioned one NNO event on Newberg Drive will have music.

• Teague also said a person caught after doing a number of car clouts last holiday season, mainly at Keizer Station, had been sentenced that day to 10 years behind bars.

“She’s a bad character,” Teague said. “Breaking into cars carries significant consequences.”

• A proposal to amend the makeup of the Community Build Task Force was approved. Most of the task force’s work was done once the Big Toy was constructed in June, but there is more yet to do.

“Our job is not done,” said councilor Marlene Parsons, who has chaired the CBTF since it was started in 2013. “It’s not just fundraising, but also to work on future maintenance. We also want to still raise money for a pour-in-place surface to put in next spring.”

Members of the smaller task force will be Parsons, Richard Walsh, Janet Carlson, Brandon Smith, David Louden, Lore Christopher and Ron Freeman. A dedication of the Big Toy is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m.

• The council’s work session on Monday, Aug. 3 will still be at 5:45 p.m. but the location has changed. Councilors will be taking a tour of the new Career Technical Education Center at 3501 Portland Road NE in Salem. The CTEC is expected to open to students this fall.