Battle over Wizer Block plan heads to the Lake Oswego City Council
The Oregonian, September 22, 2014, By Michael Bamesberger
The battle over a proposal to redevelop Lake Oswego's Wizer Block continues Monday as the developer makes an appeal to the City Council.
Patrick Kessi, principal with Evergreen Group LLC, is fighting back against a July decision by the city's Development Review Commission to deny his plan for an upscale apartment and commercial complex in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego.
A majority of the commission found the project did not meet the city's "village character" design standard and the vision for a "compact shopping district." But Kessi argues that the commission misapplied the design standard and the decision was made in error.
Supporters said the project would invigorate the area's shops and restaurants, continuing the success of surrounding developments like Lake View Village.
But critics pounced on the $93 million plan, arguing it featured too many housing units, not enough retail space and, at five-stories, was too tall. The Wizer Block, they said, is designated to be a largely commercial, not residential, block.
Both sides are waging a public relations campaign. The developer created a website, www.keeplakeoswegovillagevibrant.com, and Facebook page to promote the redesign. Meanwhile, the group Save Our Village has been organizing residents against the plan.