Planning commission does approve cultural center patio, new cell tower

The Newberg Planning Commission sat for nearly four hours Thursday evening holding public hearings on three requests before the city.

Among those was a request to annex three properties totaling 25.66 acres into the northwest corner of the ci ty. Named "Dutchman Ridge annexation," it would be part of a plan to develop those properties into a low-density residential subdivision that could accommodate 107 lots.

The request came from Boca Del Vista, which is also developing a 10-acre, 53-lot subdivision that has been given preliminary city approval and is referred to as "Gracie's Landing" on the land immediately west of the Dutchman Ridge properties.

The four properties begin on the southeast corner of Chehalem Drive and North Valley Road, extending east above the Darnell Wright Sport Complex, Chehalem Middle and Crater Elementary schools, as well as the Chehalem Senior Center.

City planner Steve Olson delivered the staff recommendation to approve the annexation at the commission meeting.

Prior to the public hearing, Friends of Yamhill County provided The Newberg Graphic with a statement opposing the annexation, calling for a higher density and more affordable mix of housing types.

"It is time for the city to align its actions with its words and adopted policies," states the letter signed by Friends of Yamhill County representative Sid Friedman. "We urge you to deny the annexation as proposed and direct the applicant to return with a request that meets the city's documented needs and adopted policies."

The planning commission delayed a decision on the issue and opted to hold open the public hearing on the annexation and zoning of the property for low-density residential to its April 13 meeting, according to Community Development Director Doug Rux.

The commission approved a plan from the Chehalem Park and Recreation District to build a patio outside of its relatively new ballroom at the Chehalem Cultural Center.

The plan would convert the area on the northwest side of the center, which now includes a gravel overflow parking lot, into a patio dotted with brown and gray pavers within an area of about 3,056 square feet matching similar pavers nearby and softening the view of the patio from the street, according to city planning documents.

When the city's Historic Preservation Commission approved the plan after a short public hearing last month (Feb. 28), city staff recommended approving the plan while highlighting a future concern that the patio could cut into the overflow parking lot.

The CPRD plan still allows for 26 parking spaces to fit alongside the patio, the documents state.

The commission also held a hearing on Verizon Wireless' plan to build a new cellular tower at 500 E. Illinois St. and approved a conditional use permit for the project.

The 100-foot-tall tower would be a "faux tree design," painted brown and given artificial branches like a coniferous tree to help conceal the equipment and make it blend into the scenery without being an eyesore, according to city records. It would also have landscaping and hedges around its base to conceal equipment at ground level.

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