It took nearly three hours for another public hearing Wednesday night, but in the end the Albany City Council voted 5-1 to approve a project for the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Calapooia Street, where three dilapidated old houses were demolished a year ago.
Opponents have 21 days to take their case to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, as they did over the demolition of the houses.
On the current plan for “Calapooia Court” (two buildings with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments above, eight two-bedroom units in all) the council overturned the Albany Landmarks Commission, which had deemed the buildings too tall and too massive for the Monteith Historic District, which includes the site.
Councilman Dick Olsen proposed to deny the application, but he got no support. Councilman Alex Johnson II, one of the five yes voters, said this is the kind of project downtown Albany needs in order for the town to move forward. If Albany doesn’t do positive things like this, in his view, young people will keep leaving and the town will die.
Albany architect Bill Ryals designed the buildings for the owners of the corner lot, Mark and Tina Siegner. At 60 by 30 feet on the ground, Ryals said, “These are not big buildings.”
There was a vast amount of more talk on both sides, as there had been in two Landmarks meetings on this application. You can listen to it when the recording of Wednesday’s virtual meeting– held remotely via the Internet — is posted on the city’s website.
For now, we wait for the next shoe to drop in this long — and for the Siegners expensive — proceeding. That is when we learn whether the opponents, including Friends of Historic Albany, appeal the council decision to LUBA in hopes of thwarting or at least delaying the plan. (hh)