Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review and preview


Last night's public hearings were held as scheduled with the predictable outcomes.  Councilor Joe Buck saw no conflict of interest, actual or potential, that made his situation any more important than any of the other 70-80 properties that are affected by the Boones Ferry Roade project, so he applied the class exception for conflict of interest to himself.  It depends upon which side of the road you are viewing it from I guess.

If you get the chance, look at the attachments to the Lake Grove Parking Management Plan and Code Amendments that were presented at the public hearing last night.  They are at the end of the downloadable document and address problems with the proposed parking lots and garage.  The pictures of what a 45' garage would look like from the neighbor's back yard are startling.  According to the Plan, in the future there may be a similar garage on Oakridge Rd. - the city would just have to amend the code - again.  It's all for the greater good.   Some people will have to make sacrifices, just not the people making the decisions.

Did the Council truly understand what mixed use housing (housing units over one or more floors of commercial (retail, office, restaurant) in the SWEA will mean?  There is virtually no employment associated with housing - it's like public storage for people which has been banned from the area.  Is housing what they consider good use of an employment district?  Since these things are glossed over or brought up separately by staff, the connections are lost when it comes time to discuss or decide on an issue.  (Same thing is true with the Budget Committee.)  What if all the property owners want to put in mixed use with housing?  It's a mixed use world we live in.  It must be what the majority wants.

The repercussions of mixed use housing are well known to the planning staff as they create the codes, so it is by design that these changes occur.  If USC can think of it, surely professionals are out ahead of the pack - it's just that we have to guess what the ultimate plans are by looking for crumbs that they leave behind.


Now that Lake Grove parking and code amendments are finished, and the SW Employment Area plan is done and all have been tentatively approved, here's a short list of some issues still to come:

Commercial Code Streamlining - will change land uses within commercial zones in the city.  Will the Parks Department expand even more using funds gleaned from SDCs to create community gardens?  Why not use valuable commercial land for farming?  Community Gardens are proposed for single family residential areas also - as a primary or accessory use, not just conditional.  Watch Planning Commission Meeting April 25, 2016 for presentation.

Tree Code Amendments - were supposed to streamline current codes and make tree removal less onnerous for homeowners.  You can decide if the Ad-Hoc Committee succeeded by reading the Draft Tree Codes and making comments to the Committee and sending testimony to the Council.

Decisions on Multi-Dwelling Development.  Is this a good idea for Lake Oswego?  The Planning Commission and City Council rejected this last year, only to be revived in January by Joe Buck with agreement by Jon Gustafson.  Read the Code Streamlining work so far to glean any hints about where these might fit in.  Will Staff be open about what grand plan they envision with the code changes they propose?   This was their idea in the first place - what do they have in mind for our city?

Elections.  Only one person has declared himself a candidate for Mayor (Kent Studebaker) and collected tens of thousands of dollars early this year to help the campaign.  Who else will run, and what impact will the election have on the future of the city?

Predictions:  A new land use plan that will allow for mixed use housing in the Kruse Way Employment Center.  Perhaps that will be taken care of with the code streamlining, but it's my hunch that although housing is currently allowed in commercial zones, there will be changes in this area.  More housing, less employment to take advantage of light rail in Tigard.

Look for tHe City Manager to bring back a report on annexation of all residential land in the Urban Services Boundary - Forest Highlands, Southwood Park, Lake Forest, Rosewood.  Rivergrove is experiencing requests from  Lake Oswego property owners to switch jurisdictions.  Why? And will current County residents be eager to be part of the city?  (Lots of new property taxes for LO!)

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