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Shellie Park subdivision fate left undecided


Housing — Planning Commission continues Shellie Park hearing, leaning toward approval

In the second public hearing concerning the proposed Shellie Park subdivision, the Planning Commission discussed the matter for nearly four hours before asking the applicant for an extension and delaying their decision.

The proposed subdivision would develop the space at 735 N. College St., creating 21 lots. But many voiced concern for safety and future planning if the application were to be approved.

“To me this just represents planning at its worst,” said Roger Grahn, who used to own the property and still owns three tax lots to the south. “It’s taking the easy way out, maximizing profits with no thought whatsoever about what you’re leaving behind.”

Grahn, along with his attorney Bryan Cavaness, allege there was no thought put into the impact of the surrounding properties, which should result in an application denial. The main issue being future street planning.

In order to approve the application, a variance must also be granted. But this was also contested based on concern that the applicants had not done everything possible to prove the property could only be developed the way it was proposed.

“It would help to have heard we approached property owner X and they just don’t want to sell,” said commission member Cathy Stuhr.

Although it wasn’t made clear if the property owners had approached neighbors about future street planning, Lee Leighton with Westlake Consultants said this shouldn’t stop the application and variance from being approved.

“It’s not a moratorium. The community doesn’t benefit from saying you can’t develop your property at all unless you can do it perfectly,” Leighton said. “The code says when it can’t be done perfectly you can get a variance. You have the burden of proof to show it’s all you need to develop your prop like anyone else who didn’t have that peculiar circumstance. Having done that, we’ve met the test for a variance because we have a very peculiar circumstance.”

After further discussion, the Commission was leaning toward approval of the preliminary plan, but Stuhr and Gary Bliss were hesitant of approval before the staff findings were improved.

“I think our findings still need work,” Stuhr said. “I’d like to explore A and maybe look through the findings and see where they need to be beefed up.”

The Commission ad­journed until 7 p.m. Thurs­day for a work session at which they intend to go through the findings piece by piece and consider moving forward with the application.

For more information on the project, www.newberg oregon.gov/planning/shellie-park-subdivisionvariance-application.