Wilsonville City Council rethinks Town Center buildings
The process to remake Wilsonville's Town Center took years, extensive public outreach and ample input from Wilsonville City Council.
Yet, during a work session Monday, March 16, less than a year after the plan was finalized, Wilsonville's council stated a preference for a slightly different vision for the project than what was formulated.
There, the council voiced a preference for changing the approved code for the redevelopment to allow Main Street, which is the centerpiece of the project, to have buildings much taller than the 3-4 stories originally proposed.
The council came to this conclusion after watching a virtual presentation of the center presented by city staff.
The primary reason the council wants taller buildings is to facilitate scenic views of the community.
"We have to look at our buildings not just from the street view but from the rooftop view," Councilor Charlotte Lehan said.
Lehan also expressed a preference for buildings of a variety of heights and for some buildings to be at least six stories tall and possibly as tall as eight or nine stories.
Fellow councilors agreed.
"I think she's right that there is a view opportunity," Councilor Ben West said. "It (the proposed designs) had a very sterile, office, squatty vibe to it. It didn't seem super appealing if you were going to draw in a new demographic to that area."
City Planning Director Miranda Bateschell said after the meeting that the community was for the most part in favor of shorter buildings for Main Street and that taller buildings would be more expensive for developers.
"Taller buildings are typically more expensive and you have to have some level of certainty you're going to fill them and make your rents to make the project pencil," Bateschell said.
City Manager Bryan Cosgrove also said changing the code would be an extensive process.
Mayor Tim Knapp also felt that there weren't as many green spaces and places for pedestrians to congregate in the virtual tour as he would have liked.
"I think your approach is an excellent approach but wanting to push staff to have consultants come up with a little more aspirations of what amenities could be brought to this area," he said.
Bateschell's main takeaway from the meeting was that the visualization staff provided missed the mark.
"More of what I heard was that the visualization we put together didn't necessarily capture the Town Center Plan fully," she said.
The city is currently creating a marketing plan for the project and will bring the issue back to council at a later date.
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