A recent book I read discussed the fact that our society is based on and held together through a process of “consensual agreement.” We as a group make our rules and regulations and we all have an obligation to abide by those rules and regulations. If not, we will have chaos.

Developer Patrick Kessi seems to feel that he does not have that obligation. Perhaps it is because he is not a member of our community, or perhaps it is just arrogance on his part to disregard the rules we have in place. Our city planners decided long ago on a design for the development of our city, and Mr. Kessi’s obligation is to submit plans that follow that vision. He has chosen to do otherwise and has put forth his own interpretation that has strayed far from the intent of our development code, and he knows it.

Do not allow him to substitute a high-density apartment complex for the small-scale business structures called for in our city development plans. Do not allow him to direct the discussion to materials and massing and sidewalk widths and planter design, when the discussion should be about the actual building use. An apartment complex does not translate into a retail business area, and a cadre of political consultants cannot change that fact, regardless of what Mr. Kessi thinks.

Many recent letters to the editor have put forth the argument that the city of Lake Oswego has to allow landowners and developers the leeway to improve their property or else we are going to earn the reputation of being against improvement and growth for our city. They imply that development money will stay away from our lovely city. But that argument cuts both ways. It is also incumbent upon landowners and developers to submit proposals that comply with the intent of our codes so that we have intelligent sustainable growth for our city.

If we do not insist upon following our rules and regulations, then we will indeed have chaotic development that could very well create an atmosphere of instability and make developers think twice about ever investing in Lake Oswego.

This design plan for this apartment complex does not comply with our codes or with the vision for our downtown area, and the Development Review Commission had it right when it denied permission to proceed. Please reject the appeal from Mr Kessi.

Katherine Chartraw is a Lake Oswego resident. 

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