Oregon City Council last week deferred action on a seemingly routine zoning-change request after hearing objections from nearby residents and will revisit the issue at its June 9 meeting at 8 p.m.
The requested change, at 5464 Navarre Ave., would give a C-2 general commercial classification to five acres currently zoned R-1 for low-density residential.
The property, which does not front Navarre, is the southern part of a parcel used by the firm Tesco, which refurbishes and sells buses. The company wants the rezoning so it can use this part of its property to park vehicles awaiting delivery to customers, company president Bud Graham said.
The Oregon Plan Commission held a public hearing on the request April 14 and recommended 5-0 that council approve it. The zoning change conforms to Oregon’s 2025 master plan for development, and the request appeared to be on its way to uncontroversial approval, until the public hearing last week at council’s regular meeting.
That’s when residents, mostly from South Stadium Road, to the south of the property in question, weighed in with their opposition. They complained that they did not want to look out from their homes to a view of parked buses, and expressed concerns about creeping industrialization in their residential area and the potential for declining property values.
One of the speakers, Donald Petroff, was well known as a former Oregon mayor and municipal court judge. He told council members that he spoke neither in support nor opposition to the zoning change, but urged them to follow the law. He said any zoning change affects nearby properties and that he could understand the concerns of the South Stadium residents.
He suggested that if council were to approve the request, it required a buffer of at least 70 feet to protect the residents.
Councilman Jerry Peach observed that the 2025 plan was “a vision,” not a binding document, and dated to late 2007.
His colleague, Councilman Joshua Hughes, asked if council could take Judge Petroff’s advice and require a buffer. Mayor Mike Seferian said this was possible, but explained that six council votes would be required to alter a plan-commission recommendation.
Councilman Jim Seaman said he favored imposing some conditions, such as requiring trees or bushes. “I think something could be worked out.”
Council President Dennis Walendzak then sought a continuance on the public hearing.
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.
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