City Council denied SWHRL's appeal of the proposed Tangent Village development
On December 5th, 2019, the City Council denied SWHRL's appeal of the Hearings Officer's decision. We are obviously disappointed. The hearing itself was a little strange. The mayor had specifically requested an hour to be scheduled for discussion of this complicated appeal, and we attended expecting to hear some discussion. But the mayor moved quickly to wrap it all up in about one minute. Commissioner Fritz made a motion to deny our appeal, the mayor quickly seconded it, and started with the boilerplate, “. . . any further discussion, . . .”—and was about to call for a vote and move on to the next item.
At that point Commissioner Fish interceded and said he wanted to hear what his colleagues thought and said he would benefit from hearing from the PBOT commissioner (Eudaly). They each quietly stated their reasoning and justifications for their position, 10 minutes later they voted and it was over. But they were notably subdued. Eudaly said “although the neighborhood association is justified in their desire to have major road improvements done, as I said before, this is really rough terrain . . .” and she justified her position on lack of "rough proportionality” (a constitutional takings argument).
The immediate ramification of this is that the city has made clear it is no longer enforcing it's frontage improvement code on SW Broadway Drive. Do not expect to see any more sidewalk built, or even enhanced shoulders with protection from cars. Although the city designated SW Broadway Drive a City Walkway and City Bikeway, and despite all the talk and PR about pedestrian and bike safety, it appears that the city has abdicated its responsibility to provide for it.
The proportionality argument that commissioners cited can be applied to most arterials and collector streets in the southwest. The southwest's lack of stormwater infrastructure and terrain make building pedestrian and bicycle facilities relatively expensive; this decision suggests that the city won't require developers to pay for these frontage improvements, nor will the city be stepping in to provide them. Currently, the southwest has the worst sidewalk coverage in the city, only 30% of our arterials have a sidewalk. It's become obvious that the city doesn't have a strategy for improving this statistic. Between the the spotty bus service and the lack of sidewalks, it is not clear how the SW Portland can support the expected residential growth the city projects.
The Council makes its final, formal vote on January 15th. After that any party with standing has 21 days to file an appeal with the Land Use Board of Appeals.
SWHRL has appealed to City Council the Hearings Officer's decision to approve the proposed development of Tangent Village, a 20-unit duplex/townhouse, Planned Development, located at the end of SW Tangent St, and between SW Davenport St and SW Broadway Drive.
SWHRL has appealed on the grounds that the City has not required the developer to provide adequate improvements to their property's SW Broadway Drive frontage, as required by City Code. Specifically, City code requires new development to construct sidewalks, and makes approval conditional on the "transportation system" being "capable" of "safely supporting . . . safety for all modes," i.e. walking and cycling.
Everyone agrees that most of SW Broadway Drive is currently unsafe for walking and cycling, including the 740 ft of proposed Tangent Village frontage, and that Broadway Drive's pedestrian and bicyle infrastructure is deficient. Yet the City did not require this developer to contribute its share toward improving the situation.
On the contrary, the Hearings Officer has agreed that reducing the City's sidewalk requirement to a 3' to 6' ft-wide stretch of gravel on the opposite side of the street "where feasible given the existing constraints of driveways, mechanical equipment, and guard rail locations" adequately provides or improves "safety for all modes."
SWHRL disagrees. The danger to the pedestrian comes from having to walk a narrow, unprotected path alongside speeding cars. The city ruling does nothing to protect pedestrians from this obvious danger.
At its minimal, most basic definition, a sidewalk would be a clear path for a pedestrian to walk. Yet the City's position is that pulling some more asphalt over the gravel to left of the guardrail (seen in the photo above) adequately mitigates the requirement to build a sidewalk along the property's frontage (on the other side of the street).
You can watch the hearing at this link: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/video/player/index.cfm?&tab=council
Select the Oct 16, PM session. SWHRL testimony begins at minute 23:40
Stroheckers - September 13, 2019
The Early Assistance report is complete and includes a site map.
Stroheckers - August 12, 2019
There has been some recent activity regarding the Strohecker's Grocery Store site. At the end of July, the owner filed a request for an Early Assistance meeting with the Bureau of Development Services. You will find information about this by going to portlandmaps.com and selecting advanced—>permits and entering the project’s IVR number, 4433173.
Early Assistance is the first step of a development process in which the developer meets with the City to get an initial idea of what the City will be requiring.
The text from the Permit states:
Demolition of an existing grocery store building. The new construction will be 12 town houses with garages and an apartment building with parking and 3.500 sf of retail space. Parking for the retail will be on grade. Storm water disposal will be by using storm planters. The new site plan would NOT have any new buildings on top of the sewer line, however there would be parking (and drive aisles) above the line at some locaations. The combined sewer would not be moved. There is about 12 feet of natural drop access the site from south to north.
A meeting date has not yet been set, but SWHRL will be monitoring and keeping the neighborhood abreast as the development process moves forward. Note that the 3,500 sf of retail space is more than the 3,000 sf the City Council set as a minimum. This is good news.
Please see our archive of Stroheckers-SWHRL activity to date for background information.
Neighborhood testimony at the August 8, 2018 City Council hearing begins at 40 minute 40 seconds.
In October, the City Council adopted the findings (which allows the development to move forward), but with important conditions, including:
- Re-use of the existing building or any redevelopment project at the site must provide at least 3,000 square feet to accommodate a retail sales and service use. The site owner shall be allowed to convert all 3,000 square feet to any other allowed use in the zone if the owner of the site or their designated agent demonstrates the site was marketed for retail use for one year from substantial completion of the retail shell space and no retail sales and service tenant has entered into a lease or sale agreement for the space.
- The applicant must complete the Neighborhood Contact process as noted at PCC 33.130.050 and 33.700.025 during the design development phase of any redevelopment project for the site, with the added requirement that all neighbors included on the mailing list for this land use review receive the initial and follow-up notification letters.
- Future development subject to BES (Bureau of Environmental Services) approval of plans to avoid or relocate the existing sewer that runs under the building site.
- A trip cap for future development that would limit daily vehicle trips to no more than was generated by the previous grocery store use.
There are a couple of subtleties about the City Council decision. The Council discarded the previous, 1980's set of Land Use conditions and, at SWHRL’s request, added a new condition requiring at least 3,000 sq to be built as retail space. Although SWHRL had requested 7,500 sf of retail space, 3,000 was the compromise the Council reached between the developer and SWHRL.
The owner is released from this “retail” requirement if they can’t find a tenant within one year after the shell of the structure is already built. It is in this space that SWHRL and the neighborhood would like to see a smaller food market along the lines of Basics Market.
Residential Infill Project (RIP)
Some neighborhoods are concerned about how the City’s new Residential Infill Project (RIP) may affect our single family neighborhoods, by allowing certain multi-family dwellings. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s website states:
“The Commission’s revised proposals would allow a wide range of housing types, including triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones. They also pushed to broaden the area where these housing choices would be allowed. To address the demolition of single-family homes, they created more incentives to retain existing houses, such as allowing them to be split into multiple units. They pushed for more flexibility for accessory dwelling units to incentivize their construction.”
If you are interested in learning how this might affect Portland Heights, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can research together.
SWHRL receives notices of proposed demolitions. Though there haven't been many in the past several years, it's good for SWHRL and neighbors to keep an eye on them. Email email@example.com if you are aware of a proposed demolition near you, and have concerns. Since the city does not monitor contractors specifically for abatement of hazardous materials such as asbestos, we need to watch what’s going on.
July 2017: 3115 SW 36th Ave, Permit 17-212123-RS
May 2017: 5409 SW Paton Rd, Permit 17-139917-RS
April 2017: 4410 SW Hewett Blvd, Permit 17-160284-RS
Questions or concerns? Contact Kareen Perkins, Bureau of Development Services (BDS) (503) 823-3622 or firstname.lastname@example.org