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Panel rejects appeal by opponents who argue that the complex will add to traffic problems at SW Barnes Road and Cedar Hills Boulevard.

PMG PHOTO BY PETER WONG - Portland lawyer Mike Connors argues against a proposed health club and parking garage during a July 16 meeting of the Beaverton City Council, which voted to uphold Planning Commission approval of the project at SW Barnes Road and Cedar Hills Boulevard.Life Time Fitness has received Beaverton's approval for a three-story athletic club, outdoor swimming pool, 619-space parking garage and office space at Southwest Barnes Road and Cedar Hills Boulevard next to the Sunset Highway.

The area was once proposed for a Walmart, which the City Council rejected in 2006 amid concerns about traffic congestion near TriMet's Sunset Transit Station.

The council voted 5-0 on July 16 to uphold Planning Commission approval of the Life Time project. The council rejected an appeal filed by Beaverton Business Owners, a limited-liability corporation formed in April in Delaware, whose law has few disclosure requirements.

"There are going to be traffic problems no matter what goes in there," Councilor Mark Fagin said.

The project is proposed on about 8 of 90 acres designated as the Sunset Station and Barnes Road planned unit development, which the city approved in 2013. It is at the southwest corner of Barnes Road and Cedar Hills Boulevard; Sunset Highway is directly to the south.

The Beaverton club would be the first in Oregon by Life Time Fitness, which is based in Minnesota and operates 144 clubs in 29 states and Canada.

It proposes a 138,000-square-foot athletic club on three floors and a 37,000-square-foot swimming pool that will be outdoors but enclosed. Office space will sit atop a 619-space parking garage.

Responding to a question from Councilor Cate Arnold — who has been on the council since 2005 and referred to the Walmart debate — Portland lawyer Mike Connors said he was not free to disclose the individuals involved in the appeal. The appeal was co-signed by Randy Matthews of Beaverton.

Connors said their opposition was not to development — the whole corridor is planned for it — or to Life Time.

"Their concern is that this specific proposal, as designed and composed, is going to create some significant issues," he said.

"Keep in mind that this is the first major development in this planned unit development area and is going to set a precedent. In summary, we believe this is too massive for this property in this area and is going to result in significant exacerbation of the already difficult traffic congestion in that area."

The appeal boiled down to dueling traffic studies by Portland firms, one by Kittelson and Associates for opponents, the other by David Evans and Associates for the applicant.

Advocates said the study submitted by opponents was based on a single-day count. Opponents said the study submitted by the applicant was based on a 2007 report, although it was reviewed by the city, Washington County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

"We need to make a decision based on reasonable evidence," said Dana Krawczuk, a lawyer with the Portland firm of Stoel Rives who represented Life Time.

Chuck Richards, owner of Sunset Athletic Club, said he supported the appeal but was not behind the opposition group.

He did submit a statement about eight clubs within close range of the site, but city planners say there is nothing in the development code that allows for its consideration in a land-use proceeding.

An appeal could be filed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals within 21 days of the decision becoming final.

Some opponents called on the council to leave the land alone, although the city's comprehensive plan designates it for development.

"It just seems everything fits how our code expects it to be done," Councilor Marc San Soucie said.

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