Apartment complex gets green light
Plans have been approved to add more housing in west Woodburn, specifically 586 apartment units along Stacy Allison Way near Interstate 5 and Walmart.
West Coast Home Solutions owner and developer Eugene Labunsky of Wilsonville worked with city staff and the Woodburn Planning Commission on the plans, which originally called for 164 one-bedroom, 376 two-bedroom and 46 three-bedroom units.
The Woodburn Planning Commission approved the complex during its May 28 meeting.
Woodburn City Council called up the planning commission's decision June 8 and heard testimony from city staff and the developer on July 13.
The planning commission allowed for six variances to city codes within the approval. The council primarily focused on variances directed at parking and driveway width.
One variance in the original plans allowed the developer to provide 1.77 off-street parking spaces per unit, rather than the two spaces required by city code. Changes to the plans boosted that to 1.9 spaces; from 1,113 spaces to 1,172 spaces. Original plans also listed 53.5% of those spaces as compact parking. That was changed to 25%.
Community Development Director Chris Kerr noted that the five main courtyards were narrowed to provide as much parking as possible.
"They massaged the locations of the buildings and adjusted some of the unit calculations," Kerr said.
The Woodburn Development Ordinance also calls for an architectural wall as a buffer or screen around the complex. As one variance, the commission approved an arboreal buffer in lieu of the wall. Councilor Lisa Ellsworth mentioned laurel as shrubbery that is well suited to such a task.
Revised plans altered the unit configuration somewhat, citing 148 one-bedroom, 390 two-bedroom and 48 three-bedroom units.
One area resident, Steve Rippeteau, weighed in on potential parking issues when the council first addressed the plans July 13. He had attended planning commission hearings and expressed concerns that the parking variance could result in spill over of excess vehicles parked on the neighborhood streets.
Rippeteau also was concerned about what effect waiving the requirement for an architectural sound barrier could have on foot traffic through the area. He viewed the increased parking capacity as a positive.
"I would guess that the 1.9 parking spaces per apartment unit would be an improvement over whatever it was before," Rippeteau said. "It's still not the 2 per (unit). And then at the same time, Lisa (Ellsworth) mentioned the laurel planting as a buffer. Does that also tend to discourage people from walking through yards? I'm not familiar with that plant; the only other one I could think of was blackberry bushes (and) that's not good.
"As I said before, I'm very much in favor of seeing the city increase the housing in the area," Rippeteau added. "But the other concern, beyond the scope of this meeting, is a more accessible drive (on connecting streets). It's already getting too congested around (Highway) 214 and Evergreen and the I-5 junction."
Rippeteau wondered whether state and federal transportation engineers considered adding another I-5 interchange to the south, adding that it would be a boon, perhaps delivering some traffic more directly to the Gervais area.
Overall, the complex designs depict 23 three-story, walk-up buildings, including the leasing office and recreation buildings, on-site improvements, and extending Stacy Allison Way to the south. The project will unfold in two phases, with the first phase entailing 179 apartments across seven buildings north of Hooper Street.
A timeline for that work has yet to be established.
"(There is) still significant engineering and design work to be completed," Kerr said. "It's unlikely there will be any activity occurring on this site until next year."
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