HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Appeals board faults city on ‘Calapooia Court’

Written May 18th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

A drawing of the project the city council approved in June 2020.

Since 2018 Mark and Tina Siegner of Albany have tried to develop housing where three historic but dilapidated houses stood at the northeast corner of Calapooia Street and Fourth Avenue. Now the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has found procedural faults with the city council’s latest approval of their project and once again sent the case back.

The three-member board issued its decision on May 4. You can read the 32-page opinion here.

The city council approved the Siegners’ plans for Calapooia Court in June  2020. The plans called for two three-story buildings totaling eight two-bedroom apartments above commercial spaces below.

The council voted 5-1 that the project met development standards for compatibility with the Monteith Historic District. The decision overturned a denial by the Albany Landmarks Commission.

Friends of Historic Albany appealed to LUBA, as did Camron Settlemier, a longtime advocate for historic preservation.

The city did not defend the council’s action, leaving that up to the Siegners and their attorney.

LUBA denied several of the appellants’ claims but sustained others and “remanded” the case, presumably for the city to remedy its errors.

Among other things, LUBA faulted the city for not keeping the record open so that Settlemier could respond to new drawings of the buildings. It also said the city’s findings did not cover whether accessory buildings in the project met the development code. And it found the findings lacking in regard to sidewalks.

The appeals board rejected claims, among others,  regarding compliance with the comprehensive plan, the adequacy of building setbacks, and the materials proposed to be used.

The three old houses on the corner property were demolished in June 2019. The city’s landmarks board had opposed the demolition, but the council approved it twice. Its first approval was appealed, and LUBA struck it down.

What happens next? I’ll let you know when I find out. (hh)





10 responses to “Appeals board faults city on ‘Calapooia Court’”

  1. David Ballard says:

    Jumping through more hoops than would be seen at a three ring circus. One has to feel a little empathy for the patience of the Siegners. To mix metaphors, this seems like too much bureaucracy and red tape in trying to be constructive with property you own. We need no longer wonder as to why the inventory of affordable housing is lacking.

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      Yes. I really applaud them for the fight for making Albany’s downtown a better place to live and to attract more residents for our businesses and schools to survive.

      The Landmarks commission is so out of touch, they’d rather have a dying town than actual growth and progress.

  2. James Engel says:

    Awwww, Mr Ballard, I don’t think these high rise apartments were intended to be “affordable”. The Siegners are in for the profit as are most all of their under takings. They made a killing on the lots purchase & can only hope to reap the $$ with their development. FAR TOO large for the area! Along with very little off street parking.

    • David Ballard says:

      Whether the eight two-bedroom apartments proposed in this project fall into the category of affordable housing or not is missing the point. The suggestion is perhaps some of the issues preventing movement on this project are examples of bureaucratic overreach preventing some affordable housing developments.

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      Even if they were luxury apartments, if you believe in the basic principles of supply and demand, they would relieve the pressure on other properties, including single-family homes in town.

      If you wonder why your children can’t find an affordable place to live think about the attitudes you guys hold when someone tries to actually build more housing.

  3. Sue says:

    This is sad – private ownership should rule the day- this would be a wonderful addition to the area (just my opinion) but maybe the complainers liked the old houses, too bad they did not buy them – if you do not have a buck in the game then stay out of the game!

  4. centrist says:

    So, LUBA didn’t reject the project. They sent the paperwork back for a rewrite.
    I didn’t see that they had substantive objection to the project.

    Time marches on

  5. James Engel says:

    Dear Sue, lump me in as a “complainer” if you will. What I object to is it’s just too big a development for the area w/o adequate on street or off street parking. Would you like to live next door to this & have it’s occupants take the parking in front of your place?

  6. sonamata says:

    Every Albany resident pays for the downtown improvements which disproportionately benefit homeowners closest to downtown. In turn, some of them fight tooth and nail against increasing the capacity for anyone else to share those benefits. Do not bring your density to the sacred, corniced land of our “farmhouses” and fanciful facades! You will not desecrate this strictly regulated, carefully cultivated, officially designated, historic small-town cosplay with your vile inadequate setbacks! Do you think this town’s settlers would stand for anything less than ample parking?! I say no sir! Go concentrate your density amongst the riverfront plebeians to the East. Their inconsistent facade maintenance indicates they do not value history, aesthetics, or quality of life, and thus will be more accommodating. While we don’t want those people to live among us, they are of course welcome to visit and participate in commerce!

 

 
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