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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 14, 2013 2:23 PM. The previous post in this blog was Stenchy bringing people together. The next post in this blog is Another Portland wrecker heads down under. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quotation of the Year (so far)

"Oversized buildings are destroying the fabric of our city," she says.

"Our"? Sorry, no. Unless you're Homer Williams or Mark Edlen.

Comments (15)

Let's not forget that a city which cannot add land still must try to get more property tax revenue by raising the value of every square foot of property within the city. Isn't that really what infill, limited lot sizes, apartments w/o parking, and all the other schemes are really about? The city doesn't care about livability, it's all about increasing the tax money to spend.

"This isn't about killing the development; it was never about that," said Helen Gundlach, board president. "Developers could've had a great building. They just wouldn't give on any of our concerns."

To each their own as to how they wish to project their issues. My point is that we have been too much Portland Polite.

How about a neighborhood finally saying we simply have had enough, we don't want the development where the city has given the keys to whatever the developers have wanted until our codes for good livability have been chipped away. Our property values are being eroded as is the character of our neighborhood. I guess Portland Polite wouldn't dare say they wouldn't want development, funny how in Boulder, CO they had a building moratorium. (Don't know current status)

That developers wouldn't give on any of their concerns tells me it has been a losing game in our city, where the neighbors are ALWAYS put in the position of compromise.

Of course it costs so much money ($30,000 in this case) to appeal a land use decision that mere mortals cannot afford to object! That is the plan! That's how the city and the developers get what they want and to hell with what the people who actually live or work in the neighborhood think!
Sorry Goose Hollow...you loose! And your taxes will go up, the services and livability will decline. There will be NO parking any more. Oh, and the city will probably rename the area too. Goose Hollow...so plebeian!
I am getting SO disgusted with this town.

So, the residents of the 27-unit, four-story condo building built 14 years ago don't want a similar (but taller? perhaps) building going in across the street and blocking their views, removing some green space, harming the historic nature of the neighborhood and impacting traffic and parking.

Wonder what the neighbors thought when the Arbor Vista was built. . . .

Not that they're wrong. It's just a bit ironic. (And it seems they got a tax exemption for the first five years, to boot.)

It's called "vertical urban sprawl".

"Planning" was supposed to be about avoiding strip malls. These cr-apartment bunkers are just strip malls tipped up on their sides. They're not "green," they're just "greed."

Yes, the pattern and the formula is down alright. How about a survey we citizens initiate with such questions what is your level of disgust with this town?

Like I have said before, they get an inch, a foot and then go miles riding roughshod over our codes and livability! Ironically, we have one who did a lot of damage before he left and now is back in, the fox in the hen-house!

City Hall: "We value the opinions of our neighborhoods"...until out-of-state developer money talks.

Out-of-state, in-state -- a turd is a turd is a turd.

Sarah Ames, do you have any proof that Arbor Vista got any 5 year tax exemption? Is it something to do with being a TOD? And will/would the new proposal across the street get a tax exemption?

Anyone have a number of how many "units" get tax abatements?
Maybe the Office of Equity ought to look into this one?
We have seniors who can hardly hold onto their homes with property tax increases and then we have those living in luxury condos who pay little to nothing if at all?

I live in Arbor Vista, it was built in 1999. It was developed as a mixed income building (40% market rate and 60% subsidized), with incentives for first time home buyers that qualified as low income owners--including a 10 year tax abatement.

I would like to add information on one of the homeowners main concerns which was not addressed in the article. Our 4-block neighborhood has only one way in and out of the neighborhood - the light at SW 20th & Jefferson. All the streets dead-end and one is exceptionally steep, making circulation a challenge.

The proposed building of 134 units (and 122 for-rent parking spaces) will increase vehicle trips and parking 4-times current usage, (by our calculations 200+ cars will be moving in). It is our concern that the 50 on-street public parking spaces cannot handle the increased demand, and the street grid will be congested with vehicles looking for parking. Not to mention weekly moving vans, delivery trucks, etc.

It is not 100% about views, it is also about preserving quality of life. Below are the defined goals of design review from our case packet.

“Design review ensures that development conserves and enhances the recognized special design values of a site or area. Design review is used to ensure the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of the identified scenic, architectural, and cultural values of each design district or area. Design review ensures that certain types of infill development will be compatible with the neighborhood and enhance the area. Design review is also used in certain cases to review public and private projects to ensure that they are of a high design quality.”

AV Homeowner, thank you for the info. As you know there is much more verbiage is the Title 33 Design Review requirements. But even taking the simplified Purpose of Design Review that you quote, and in the context of being in a historical district, such words as "scenic, architectural, and cultural" provides fodder to challenge.

The site being in a steep terrain area of our city with scenic and territorial views, should be addressed. Goose Hollow with it's historical buildings, scale of homes, churches and business has to be respected. And its long time cultural history to the city has to be recognized. These being all subjective, meaning interpretations can go many way, it's still appealable. It can go the neighborhoods way just as well as the developers/CoP's Planners way.

There also the scale of the proposed project being almost twice the height of your condos and density/number of units being 5 times greater. This dichotomy falls under the "architectural" category as well as the "compatibility with the neighborhood".

Nimbyism will be called out. And maybe the proposal isn't all bad. But gross infill throughout our city must be addressed.

Unless the area is in a recognized historic district, good luck with fighting anything but the strict zoning guidelines (for which developers can request a variance, and which they usually win). When we fought an oversized condo in our neighborhood, we had a lot of very valid reasons to reject their variance request. The property-owning neighbors and the neighborhood association were almost completely united again the project. And the land use people just kept telling us that those things didn't matter because they weren't legal impediments and didn't need to be considered in the decision process. The fact that businesses on Vaughn would lose parking places for customers, that the views of those in the residential area would be ruined, and that we'd have a monolith coming right up to the sidewalk didn't matter. Quality of life, in general, doesn't figure into the land use appeal process.

NW Portlander, your point should be considered. What our neighborhood, and I know of others, is to consider the long haul of the appeal processes.

There's first the appeal to Planning Commission, then City Council (this all varies on particular projects), then Land Use Board of Appeal, then State Appellant Court, then Oregon Supreme Court, and finally the US Supreme Court.

All along there's the variables of remanding back to lower jurisdictions, again. Several times just the appealing to Planning Commission, then City Council,even without prevailing, the time and cost it takes for the Developer/Planner cabal creates concessions that helps a neighborhood.

Going to LUBA really slows down the process and greatly increases the cost for the other party and creates results, even eventually with losing.

This is sadly the story here in Portland when the Planning Cabal is not like it was in past decades when they at least listened. I've been on both sides and find the pendulum has swung too far one way.


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