Property will be rezoned for apartment complex

Tualatin will expand its borders to pave the way for a new apartment complex.

The Salem-based Mountain West Investment Corporation wants to purchase a nearly 12-acre parcel north of 124th Avenue on Pacific Highway that currently sits in unincorporated Washington County, with the vision of developing it into multi-family homes.

Located within Tualatin’s Planning Area, the Espedal Property, as it’s commonly known, currently sits vacant, with remnants of a manufactured home park that used to sit there.

The parcel is classified as being within a future development district, and contains three tax lots, each with different zoning: recreational-commercial, general commercial and high-density residential.

Mountain West wants to rezone the parcel as high-density residential only, something the district classification does not currently allow.

“It is a property that in its current form has been a challenge to develop,” applicant Brian Moore, director of real estate for Mountain West Investment Corporation in Salem, told the City Council on March 24.

The developers hope to charge market-rate rent, and have no plans to include low-income housing, Moore said. “We’re looking forward to doing a high-quality, multifamily development on the site.”

City leaders agreed that the property posed a unique set of challenges.

“Because of access restrictions on-site, it is not likely a commercial development would ever locate here,” senior planner Clare Fuchs explained.

As Moore pointed out, there is only one access point for the site. If plans for a residential development were approved, he said his company would add secondary emergency access.

The development also includes plans for a greenway path along the river.

During a public hearing before the council, resident Doug Watson voiced concerns about the development’s planned greenway path.

“If additional development were to occur, that walkway, that pathway, greenway, would go right through my neighbor’s living room, through my living room, and through the living room of the house to the west or south of me,” he said. “Furthermore, even if no further development occurred, that zig-zag path up that 90 feet is an invitation for skateboarders and young people. An invitation to serious, serious accident, death, lawsuits.

“I would seek a modification of that greenway proposal,” he concluded.

Community Services Director Paul Hennon said it was not a “forgone conclusion” that the greenway would be constructed right away, or at all.

“The agreement is the owner would dedicate the land for the greenway, then build the trail if mutually agreed to by the city and the developer,” Hennon explained.

Ogden successfully recommended a zone change before the property was annexed to Tualatin. The council voted unanimously to approve the plan map amendment and to grant the annexation request.

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