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Wilsonville City Council unanimously supports Development Review Board action

After deciding to call up a recent Development Review Board decision to approve a six-unit townhouse development in the Old Town neighborhood, Wilsonville City Council voted to uphold the DRB's initial ruling during a meeting Monday, Nov. 16.

The decision was called up after Old Town residents expressed concern about public process, how the development would fit architecturally next to single-family homes, and whether it could exacerbate parking congestion.

The Wilsonville City Council upheld the decision because the development application doesn't violate clear and objective standards and because the developer already had made changes to address community members' concerns — such as doubling the amount of parking spaces on each lot and lowering the building's height.

"It's unfortunate when you have a lot of neighbors who are not happy about where a development is moving, but from my perspective, I can do nothing but at least make a motion at this point of discussion and vote with the council to affirm DRB Resolution 382," City Councilor Joann Linville said during the meeting.

Linville also felt that, for the most part, citizens who wanted to voice comment at DRB hearings were given the chance to do so.

Councilor Ben West voted in favor of the motion to uphold the ruling but said the developer didn't do enough to hear neighbors' concerns, and he was concerned about added density in the neighborhood.

"They really failed to build that relationship and really do thorough outreach in the community to make sure they were totally heard," West said.

Charlotte Lehan, for her part, questioned the idea that the development would negatively impact the area and also noted that the developer had taken steps to address concerns.

"There's only so far you can say, 'We don't want you to do this' without getting into taking away the property owner's property right, because that's what it's zoned and that's what the standard is. He has met and exceeded the standard," she said.

Mayor Tim Knapp also mentioned that the city can't arbitrarily deny development applications that meet standards.

"The concept that approval or disapproval must be related to clear and objective standards is the foundational principle we have to act on under state law," he said.


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