Do or die time for North Anchor?
The Lake Oswego City Council will decide at it's Feb. 19 meeting whether or not to move forward with current plans to build a 125-unit boutique hotel, 11,000 square feet of retail space and a 160-stall parking structure at the City-owned North Anchor property on B Avenue.
After viewing new design renderings and hearing a short presentation from Vanessa Sturgeon of Sturgeon Partners and Bob Thompson of TVA Architects, the council decided Tuesday to take those designs and comments into consideration before making a decision on the project, which has been in limbo for more than two years.
The council had instructed Sturgeon in December to return with concept designs for several changes she is proposing for the project. She no longer wants to include apartments in the development, for example, and plans to replace underground parking with an above-grade structure because of high costs associated with excavation.
But according to City officials, Sturgeon's renderings were submitted just an hour before the council meeting, which didn't give City Manager Scott Lazenby and staff enough time to review them and make a recommendation to councilors. That is now expected to happen at the council's Feb. 19 meeting.
On Tuesday, councilors seemed generally happy with how the renderings looked. "I'm pleased you're taking into consideration the aesthetic," Councilor John Wendland said. "When I look at this, it looks like Lake Oswego."
But when asked by Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff whether the project hinged on the approval of an above-grade parking structure, Sturgeon said yes. And there are still other issues to address: Several councilors have said they want a financial commitment from Sturgeon before they lock down the project and sign a new agreement that lays out the process for development.
The current development agreement would need to be amended heavily, according to City Attorney David Powell, to meet the scope of the project as it has changed over time.
Also on the agenda
During Tuesday's meeting, Planning Director Scot Siegel and Code Enforcement Specialist Bill Youngblood asked the council to provide direction on the scope of potential regulations that would replace the City's current ban on short-term rentals (STRs).
Mayor Kent Studebaker introduced a motion to stop future discussions and keep the ban in place. But Councilor John Wendland argued that the council needs to consider how future residents might use STRs to subsidize their taxes, mortgages or other expenses associated with living in Lake Oswego, and a majority of his colleagues agreed.
With Councilors Theresa Kohlhoff and Skip O'Neill joining the Mayor in voting no, the council voted 4-3 to direct staff and the Planning Commission to move forward in crafting an STR policy and developing a community outreach plan in advance of public hearings.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that the council vote was a 5-2 result. The result was 4-3.
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