The applicants might have had to wait a bit longer than they preferred, but a proposed annexation of a 3.75-acre property at 22915 Weatherhill Road was approved unanimously by the West Linn City Council during a special meeting March 4.
The application first went before the council Feb. 11, and while a majority favored approving both a zone change and the annexation of the property, the zone change ordinance could not move past a first reading in the absence of a unanimous vote.
The applicant, Sequoia Heights Capital Partners LLC, has been open about plans to build an expansion of the Tanner Spring Assisted Living Facility. Such an expansion, as consultant Andrew Tull stated at the Feb. 11 hearing, is projected to add between 50 and 80 new units for assisted and independent senior living. Tanner Springs consists of apartment-like units for seniors.
The two councilors who voted against the rezoning ordinance — Bill Relyea and Rich Sakelik — expressed concerns about the applicant's preferred zoning designation of R-3 (which carries a minimum lot size of 3,000 square feet for single-family, duplex and multifamily units).
They preferred for the property to be zoned R-7 (lot size of between 5,500 and 7,000 square feet for single-family units, 11,000 for duplexes and no multifamily units) to protect against the possibility of a change in the applicant's plan.
Relyea also expressed general unease about approving annexations that are influenced by a community development code (CDC) that he viewed as flawed.
When the hearing was reopened March 4, Relyea said he was still concerned about how the annexation and subsequent development would impact traffic in the surrounding neighborhood.
"When we make these annexations, we can't address the greater interests of the community," Relyea said.
City Council President Teri Cummings said the City couldn't bring past decisions into a discussion about one specific annexation.
"All we can do now is expect this to happen the right way," Cummings said.
Ultimately, on the second reading for the zoning change, Relyea changed his vote while Sakelik did not, resulting in a 4-1 approval (unanimous votes are not needed on a second reading).
The council could then move to consideration of the annexation itself. During a short presentation, Tull spoke to some of the concerns expressed by Relyea.
"This is not a final design," Tull said. "(Councilor) Relyea asked some very good questions, and fortunately the CDC recognizes that when development comes in, there can be effects outside of the development. We're probably going to have to do a transportation impact analysis."
He added, however, there was a "proportionality aspect" and the applicant couldn't be asked to do too much beyond its own property lines. Tull also said that simply annexing the property wouldn't add any demand to the streets, and those questions could be addressed when a development application is considered.
The council took those arguments to heart and voted unanimously to approve first and second readings of the annexation ordinance. A pre-application meeting for the development proposal was scheduled for March 7.
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