The two signs on the northeast corner of Fourth and Calapooia in Albany don’t mean anything. The signs were still there Sunday. But the public hearing they advertise was held months ago, and as of last week the corner lot showed no sign of pending development.
Nearly two years ago, early in 2020, Albany builders Mark and Tina Siegner submitted plans for two three-story buildings on the site, where previously they had won a hotly contested council permission to demolish three century-old, trashed and dilapidated houses.
In May 2020, their plans for new construction on the property were rejected by the city’s Landmarks Commission as not compatible with the Monteith Historic District. In June the city council approved the project on appeal. But the opponents took the case to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, which issued its decision in May 2021, sending the matter back to the city to fix two deficiencies in its process.
Two months ago, on Oct. 13, the council reviewed and approved the plan again, this time without two elements (sidewalk configuration, and outbuildings) which LUBA had cited in its remand.
As the city planning division noted in its Oct. 28 notice of decision that put an end to the historic review aspect of the case, the builders still had to obtain review and approval of a site plan. They’ll need that before the city will approve a building permit, which is pending. Planners told me Friday the site plan had not come in.
This corner has been in the news a lot, first when the city condemned the old houses as uninhabitable, then when the demolition was proposed and eventually accomplished, and then when the new construction — eight two-bedroom apartments over office or shop space — drew opposition and an appeal to the state.
You can see why I’m keeping an eye on the lot, weeds and all, including outdated city signs, to see what happens next. (hh))