Canby Council weighs on land use
The Oct. 3 Canby City Council meeting showed that everything isn't what it seems. While the start of the meeting seemed like any other meeting, this one differed from the usual by some speeches, and the length and brevity of one public hearing compared with a second that lasted about three hours.
The longer hearing concerned a zone change for a piece of land already annexed by the city. Before annexation, the parcel had been zoned for farming. In 2003, the parcel was zoned R-1 for low density housing. However, the applicant wanted to change it to CR or Commercial Residential. It is located near the intersection of South Ivy and Southeast 13th Street; a very busy intersection. It was denied.
Regarding the longer hearing, over the summer the zone change applicant, Butch Busse, hired people for a traffic study, which found the intersection wasn't very busy. However, because there's a school on one corner with Hope Village and Dinsmore Estates close by, people in the area worry about traffic increases. The potential for a number of townhomes would definitely increase traffic, according to those against the measure.
At the same time, no development plan came with the application for zone change and that was one of the council members' reasons for questioning approval.
There was also the matter of a 15-year old designation for the parcel calling it special or unique and giving it the R1 zoning designation a reason for staying unique. And, the city's Planning Commission had denied the planned zone change with a vote of four to one.
When the applicant Busse and his attorney spoke, Busse noted that the Planning Commissioners denied the application by a four to one vote because of traffic. "We had a traffic study done in July that noted traffic wouldn't degrade or create problems."
He added that all he wants to do is "…build attached townhomes and will adjust the number of homes. But it will be residential."
A number of residents showed up to complain that a July traffic study wouldn't show actual traffic numbers among drivers to the school and the school buses and kids walking to Lee School.
Each of the five opponents brought up different reasons they didn't want to see a zone change let alone construction on that road.
"How many cars exit from there with homes all around? There are hundreds of other areas, [they could have picked for townhomes], and you need to decide it can't be done."
"That traffic study that was done in July, there's been an increase in traffic, in July there was nobody around," said Scott Sassy, who's lived in the area since 1996. And Scott Sanders added that he can't make it through the light some times.
During the rebuttal, the attorney for Busse suggested that since the applicant bought the property to build on, if he couldn't build on it then perhaps the people in Dinsmore Estates owe Busse for the land.
"We need to have the [plan for] land use with the zoning change be able to make a zone change. This is not a typical zone change, it's special and unique," Tyler Smith, council member said.
"It's a high stakes decision," said council member Tim Dale.
Finally, council members agreed that any zone change requires a development plan and voted unanimously to deny rezoning.
At the end of the session, Mayor Brian Hodson congratulated the council members and staff for their due diligence. "These land use questions are complex and we will have more to come. I appreciate your due diligence," he said.
By contrast, the annexation and zone change for 9.55 acres owned by the Cutsforth family went through with almost no discussion. A brief explanation by Bryan Brown, planning director, and a short hearing from the applicant.