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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Apartments proposed in North Albany

Written January 13th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

The plan for the “Hickory Street Apartments” shows parking where those evergreens now stand.

More growth is coming to North Albany, this time in the form of a proposed 48-unit apartment complex on Hickory Street on the west side of North Albany Road.

As near as I can tell, this would be the first apartment development to be built in North Albany, where single-family subdivisions have been the rule since Albany annexed the area in June 1991. It’s in the same neighborhood where the Bonaventure retirement home was completed last year.

So far the plans are preliminary. The property, at 720 Hickory N.W., covers 2.25 acres and according to Benton County records is owned by a family in Olympia, Wash. Before applying for a site-plan review with the Albany planning division, the developers this week notified nearby residents of a neighborhood meeting to explain their plan and answer questions. It will be at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25 in the cafeteria of North Albany Middle School.

The property is covered by two zoning districts, “mixed use commercial” and “medium density residential.” Both allow apartments.

David Martineau, a planner with the city, told me the project requires only a site-plan review, which typically is handled by the planning staff. He did not know when the developers intend to start construction once they have the city’s OK.

A preliminary layout sent to neighbors with the meeting invitation shows four buildings and about 90 parking spaces. The property now is vacant, partly covered by stately evergreens and, on its east end, a mass of blackberry vines.

Brandie Dalton, a land-use planner with Multi/Tech Engineering Services of Salem, explains in the letter that the plan may be changed before it is submitted for the city’s review. The meeting is intended “to allow adjacent property owners and city staff the opportunity to review the tentative proposal and identify any issues prior to submittal.” (hh)

The proposed apartment site, viewed from its eastern end.

 

 

 



16 responses to “Apartments proposed in North Albany”

  1. Sarah Haile says:

    So, we can hardly cram our own children into our schools and we are adding a concentrated 90 more housing units? Are we serious now?

    • Amanda Orson says:

      I do agree Sara! When the City starts kicking down more money to our already overcrowded schools then maybe…

      • Bob Woods says:

        Amanda, cities have nothing to do with schools and do not fund them.

        School Districts are independent entities, chartered under state laws. They get most of their money through property taxes. If you want them to have more money, then give them more money directly instead of muddling things up further by having a different layer of government involved.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      The “improvement” will generate more property taxes for schools.
      Will it be enough to offset the additional students that move in? Who knows.

  2. Ron Green says:

    90 parking spaces? Perhaps this is a good opportunity to develop with an eye to the future, and resist the urge to pave. Car-dependent sprawl is so 1970’s.

  3. Floyd Collins says:

    I sure hope they do their homework and conduct a cultural review of the site. As I recall, several years ago there was a community meeting in the gym of North Albany Community Church were photographs of historic Indian burial sites on this, or nearby property were displayed.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      For sure! Last thing we need in these uncertain times is the closing minutes of that ’82 hit Poltergeist actually happening. No tongue in cheek here despite my fondness for such banter. History repeats itself and fiction also becomes reality peeps!

  4. Grace Peterson says:

    Sure! I think building apartments here is a fantastic idea. And the constructions crews can break ground as soon as the new bridge is built across the river; we have four-lane main roads in all of North Albany and new and bigger schools.

  5. centrist says:

    Isn’t this within the flood plain??

    • ean says:

      If I am looking at the right property it is in a X shaded zone, outside the 100-year floodplain but within the 500-year floodplain. I don’t think there are any real restrictions on X shaded zones in Albany.

  6. John Jay says:

    We need to look very closely at this, without the infrastructure in place there are some real issues that need to be dealt with. I also echo the sentiments of Mr. Collins, the city is looking at potential very expensive litigation if they start trampling on native American cultural grounds. We haven’t even started the discussion on environmental impact, especially as to wetlands and stormwater polution, I think an EPA study is in order.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Infrastructure such as street connections, water, sewer, electricity and systems development charges for impacts, including for schools, are paid for by the developer. Ditto for wetlands mitigation.

      People need to understand that zoning and development code requirements, within the city Urban Growth Area, are set in advance. The point being that both developers and citizens know in advance what is or isn’t allowed, specifically so that every development proposal doesn’t stir up a big outcry.

      Cultural sites will have to be dealt with by the developer according to the law.

      • Ron Green says:

        The developer pays for these things up front, but it’s up to the city to maintain them. Then the question becomes, “Does this property generate enough tax revenue to pay for its infrastructure?”

        Unfortunately, in the case of car-dependent suburban development, the answer is almost always “No.”

        • Bob Woods says:

          You are correct about not enough $ to cover the costs of maintaining roads. Even in cities, the biggest source of ongoing funding for streets comes from the small city share of the state-wide gas tax. As cars get more MPG, the money collected goes down if the tax rate stays the same. It is CLEARLY not a sustainable approach.

          So if folks want to be reasonable, they need to get together and figure out a funding approach that will at least cover the perpetual costs of maintaining the existing system. However, the society has a lot of folks who aren’t reasonable, and always scream NO at any mention of any tax/fee to pay for anything.

          Generally, folks in Albany have been willing to fund the big reconstruction projects through bond issues.

  7. Thomas Aaron says:

    Good news for everyone who wants that new grocery store to stick around. Odds are most of the renters will be students looking to escape the Portland like rates of Corvallis.

  8. John Hartman says:

    This apartment building project is socio-culturally significant for North Albany. Previous to Hasso’s probing story, Notth Albany was akin to a gated community, built largely for those who can afford two cars in every garage. Folks with the wherewithal to dodge urban ugliness by building up on the hill. Even as North Albany is a part of the city of Albany, it’s Benton County location has always served as some sort of misguided status symbol for those who live there.

    Now, the Great Unwashed threaten to muddy North Albany’s previously pristine image. Large, inner-city style tenements housing struggling senior citizens, sassy single moms, food-stamping welfare cheats and raucous children. The shockwave may prove too much.
    We hope Hasso keeps his ear to the ground. This story is just getting going.

 

 
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