Lake Oswego's request focuses on 10 acres for tennis facility

by: VERN UYETAKE - Known as the Rassekh property, this nearly 10-acre site in the Stafford area could come into the urban growth boundary soon. The city of Lake Oswego has requested the expansion in hopes of building a new indoor tennis facility there.The Metro Council will soon decide whether to grant Lake Oswego’s request to bring about 10 acres in Stafford into the region’s urban growth boundary.

The regional government was scheduled to hold the first reading of an ordinance expanding the UGB today. A public hearing on the proposal is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6.

Moving the line that limits urban sprawl is necessary for the city of Lake Oswego to build a new tennis center on what is known as the Rassekh property, which sits just outside of Lake Oswego city limits, across Stafford Road from Luscher Farm.

Officials plan to fund the new eight-court building with revenue bonds backed by tennis center fees and reserves and the eventual sale of the existing city tennis center property. The new indoor courts would replace the old, heavily used Diane Drive building, which can’t be expanded in its current location next to Springbrook Park.

To bring the Rassekh property inside of the UGB, Lake Oswego must prove its need for a new tennis facility can’t be reasonably met on land already inside of the urban growth boundary, and that the city can’t wait on the project until 2015, Metro’s next scheduled analysis of whether to expand the UGB. The city submitted a petition for the boundary change to Metro, the regional government, earlier this year.

In the petition, officials argued Lake Oswego has a “relatively unique window of opportunity to proceed with construction of the new indoor tennis center in the near term because of favorable interest rates and (a) competitive bidding environment for construction projects.”

A public hearing on the topic was held Sept. 20 at Lake Oswego City Hall. About 50 people attended the meeting, with 12 testifying in favor of Lake Oswego’s request and 10 speaking against it.

Tennis supporters, including some who live in West Linn, have enthusiastically pushed for approval of Lake Oswego’s request.

Opponents have questioned the facility’s need and the chosen location, citing concerns about environmental impacts, potential traffic and planning in the Stafford area, now a rural buffer between Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn.

After the hearing, Oregon Administrative Law Judge Bernadette House found Lake Oswego had met the necessary criteria for a major UGB amendment and recommended that the Metro Council approve the request.

The Metro Council’s first reading of the ordinance was scheduled for a meeting at 2 p.m. today. At a hearing set for Dec. 6, when the council meets from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at 600 NE Grand Ave. in Portland, testimony will be accepted from individuals who participated in the September hearing.

by: VERN UYETAKE - This map shows the Rassekh property, which Lake Oswego hopes to bring inside of the urban growth boundary so it can build a new tennis center there. The turquoise line shows where the urban growth boundary now runs, the red line shows the city boundary and the green line outlines city-owned parks properties in the Stafford area.

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