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Zoning tweaks could pave way for construction, many nearby residents opposed

Sheldon Development is a step closer to constructing apartments on a lot in Troutdale where a local strawberry stand sells fruit during the summer.

That development hinges on zoning alterations to allow for apartments. The location is currently zoned for single-family homes. OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - There was a packed house during Troutdale City Councils special one-issue session on Tuesday, June 5, at the Community Policing Center. The meeting was held to discuss a proposal to allow variances for a zone designated for single-family housing.

On May 29, Troutdale's Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend the approval of a comprehensive plan map amendment, zoning map amendments, and two variances for two properties totaling 8.82 acres of property at the intersection of Northeast 242nd Drive and Southwest Cherry Park Road.

The commission's recommendation is nonbinding and must be approved by the Troutdale City Council, said Chris Damgen, community development director, at a Troutdale City Council special meeting on Tuesday, June 5. The council's meeting was held solely to discuss the zoning change, and no vote was taken.

Damgen said there are several arguments in favor of the change. Those reasons include creating more housing, developing a vacant property and mass transit will likely increase with development.

However, there are a couple of reasons against the change, and the largest concern is that many citizens have voiced strong opposition. Several citizens submitted written comments to the planning commission, voiced concerns during the commission's meeting, and eight Troutdale residents also spoke against the change at the council's meeting on Tuesday evening. No one spoke in favor.

"Yes, we have a lot of folks opposed to this, but there are proponents as well, but not as many," Damgen said.

About 40 people showed up to the City Council's meeting on Tuesday, and a few people stood in the back of the room.

Those opposed cite traffic increases, a negative impact to property values and lack of bus service to the area.

Sandy Glantz spoke against the zoning change during council comments. Glantz serves on the Troutdale Planning Commission, and she voted against it on May 29.

The zoning change to allow apartments would decrease property values in the area, she said.

Using realtor.com, she calculated that an apartment development nearby could decrease property values by up to 13 percent.

"To me, that's significant," Glantz said.

Damgen responded that by using online services such as Zillow they found the impact to property values would be negligible.

Damgen also said that TriMet is looking to build a bus stop near the site because of an industrial development nearby at Vista Industrial Development Park. An apartment complex nearby would help to attract that stop.

This is the second time the developer has tried to build at that site.

Sheldon Development attempted to develop the property in 2016, but it was shot down by the City Council, and the planning commission's vote was tied at 3-3, according to a 2016 Outlook article.

The City Council will meet on Tuesday, June 12, to vote on the zoning change and following that, approval for the development itself.

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