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Published: Tuesday, 2/28/2006

Oregon OKs rezoning for housing subdivision

Oregon City Council last night voted 4-3 to allow an upscale housing subdivision on a parcel off Seaman Road and another off Corduroy Road, both between Norden and Stadium roads.

The decision dismayed about two-thirds of the more than 200 people who attended the public hearing and the council discussion that followed. Council decided to allow a zoning change on the Seaman and Corduroy parcels from a R-1 low-density residential to an R-2 medium-density residential.

Because the two parcels sit back to back between Norden and Stadium, the zoning change will allow the proposed Graham Village to be built there. The subdivision will hold 64 homes expected to cost between $225,000 and $350,000 each.

Councilmen Sandy Bihn, Mike Seferian, and Jerry Peach voted against the change. "I'm comfortable with the R-1, and I'd like to encourage more R-1 subdivisions," Mr. Seferian said. "I think it's fitting for the area. To do more is less."

Most of the people who packed council chambers were opposed to the zoning changes. Some who couldn't get inside the room sat in the hallway beneath speakers where they could hear the discussion.

One person who spoke quoted the definition of spot zoning; two others presented council with transcripts of council meetings from 1997 and 2004 to illustrate what several councilmen have said about spot zoning previously.

Another opponent presented council with a petition containing just under 600 signatures of Oregon residents and people from as far away as Oak Harbor, Delta, and Luna Pier, Mich., asking councilmen not to rezone the parcels.

According to the petition, those who signed "favor orderly growth and the preservation of farmland."

Just five spoke in favor of the zoning change, including Noel Graham, who is the applicant for both parcels.

"I think everyone has a right to develop their own property, and my choice is to try to build an upscale neighborhood," he said. "Oregon needs to grow. That's why I'm willing to put my money into a subdivision I can be proud of."

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