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Land use — After closing discussion, council delays voting on the application until Dec. 16

At the Nov. 18, Newberg City Council meeting, a decision was anticipated on the fate of the controversial Terra Estates subdivision application. However, Deputy City Recorder Jenn Nelson said the decision was extended to the Dec. 16 meeting by the applicant, Mike Hanks.

This is the second extension on the decision. The first came Sept. 27, which extended the decision from the original Oct. 14 hearing date to Nov. 18.

Terry Mahr, former city attorney who is assisting current city attorney Truman Stone because of a conflict of interest, said the extension happened for two reasons.

Mahr said when an application is appealed to the city council, they accept evidence for review. For the Nov. 18 meeting, there was a several hundred-page packet distributed two weeks prior to the meeting, and then the next week a 200-page appeal was distributed.

“That’s a lot to read and base a decision on,” he said. “(Second) once the record closed entirely and people can’t submit any more evidence, the person who made the application has seven days to submit a final argument as to why the application should be approved.”

The applicant, Hanks, said at the meeting he intended to submit a final argument.

As an example, Mahr compared the situation to how application reviews are typically handled on the county level.

“The county often makes a tentative decision then comes back for final documents and a final vote,” he said. “We were thinking the council would at least discuss it, but when the applicant said he wanted to make an argument they said, ‘OK that’s it then.’”

At the Nov. 18 meeting, the council voted on two items concerning the development. Both were to accept written testimony from Melvin Taylor and Jason Mullaney.

Terra Estates has been a lighting rod for criticism from neighbors for the past several months. The application would allow the Del Boca Vista LLC subdivision to move forward with planning and construction.

Some neighbors of the proposed subdivision off North College Street have argued it is inconsistent with surrounding land uses and would add too much traffic to roads ill-equipped to handle it.

To read the complete background on the hearing, visit bit.ly/1b8Pi1Q.

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