Councilors want more open space in Frog Pond development
After acknowledging that Pahlisch Homes had met open space requirements in its development proposal for a parcel of land in the burgeoning Frog Pond West area, Wilsonville Councilor Kristin Akervall posed an existential question to her fellow councilors.
"Does that mean we proceed with something that makes you feel a little sad in your heart?" she asked.
And, for the all council members present at the Wilsonville City Council meeting June 18, the answer was a resounding no.
Wilsonville councilors instructed Pahlisch Homes representative Ben Altman of Pioneer Design Group to include more open space within the proposed development. It was unclear whether or not the developer would acquiesce to the request but the council agreed to continue the public hearing for resolutions to annex land for the development and to rezone the land from Farm Forest 5-acre to Residential Neighborhood, which is a residential zoning code that is specific to Frog Pond, at the July 2 meeting. Nevertheless, the City unanimously passed first readings of the annexation and land use resolutions.
The planned development is projected to be 20 acres with 82 4,000-6,000 foot developments, and features smaller lots than the first development application in the Frog Pond West area brought before council by West Hills Development. Annexation and zoning amendments for the West Hills Development land passed unanimously at the meeting.
The proposal for the Pahlisch Homes development includes walking trails and is located near projected park and school sites, which would include fields.
Wilsonville Associate Planner Kimberly Rybold said the Pahlisch Homes application meets the requirement that 10 percent of land in the development include open space as well as the five percent requirement for usable open space. Councilors, though, wished there were more space for kids to play rather than traverse.
"How they've chosen to use these standards is to have more of the pedestrian open spaces," Rybold said. "That's why a lot of the open space is accounted for in that trail because that is usable open space per the definition of our development code."
Altman said the school, park and trails would provide enough open space.
"You have substantial open space that's consistent with the Frog Pond Master Plan," he said.
Council President Scott Starr and fellow council members said school and park features wouldn't be close enough to homes within the Pahlisch Homes development.
"My thought is, this will be a neighborhood that skews toward younger families and smaller kids and getting across the major street to the school playground is going to be an issue," Starr said.
Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp proposed turning one of the housing lots into an open space area and argued that 82 lots is the maximum amount allowed for the development under the zoning code, so Pahlisch Homes could stand to lose one lot. Councilor Susie Stevens agreed with the idea of adding open space while Councilor Charlotte Lehan was absent from the meeting.
"I share concern that I heard here a few minutes ago that 82 houses are a lot of people and a lot of kids and there's not a lot of public open space here, certainly compared to what were allowed to be available in Villebois (neighborhood). I'm not sure how that ends up working," Knapp said.
Akervall supported open space additions in part because she said such grassy areas are valuable in her own life.
"Speaking as a person who has a young child myself, we really value having a park that's close to our house that we pass by everyday ... It's part of the rhythm of our normal life," she said.