A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hearings set on new apartment complex

Written January 16th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This grassy area, between the former Mega Foods on the left and the Periwinkle Creek Apartments on the right, is where 42 apartments are proposed to be built.

Owners of the former Mega Foods supermarket property are asking the City of Albany to approve dividing the 4.8-acre tract and to rezone the southern section to allow construction of 42 apartments.

The request includes the land division, a change in the comprehensive plan, the zone change, and approval of a site plan.

The Albany Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the application for Jan. 23. The city council will hold a hearing and presumably take action on Feb. 22.

On Jan. 13 the city planninng staff published a 129-page staff report detailing how the proposal fares in relation to dozens of state and local planning goals and policies, not to mention many specific criteria.

(If our new governor, Tina Kotek, is serious about wanting to speed up the construction of Oregon housing, as she says, then she might start with a radical simplification of state and local land use rules.)

Reading the staff report demands the patience of Job. Imagine how the hapless planner felt who had to compile it.

The upshot of it, as far as I can make out, is that the proposal meets the numerous requirements and should be approved.

The owners of the property, including the long-vacant store, are named as Mega Investments LLC. The principals are Athwal Sona, with an address on Seven Mile Lane in Albany, and Lal Din Sidhu, of Salem.

According to Linn County tax records, Mega Investments bought the property in September 2021 for $2.5 million.

The plans on file with the city show that the proposed 42 apartments will be in two three-story buildings on the 1.5-acre lot to be divided from the rest of the parcel. There will be studios as well as one- and two-bedroom units.

The plans show 63 parking spaces, a few more than required by city rules.

Approval of the rezoning by the council, if and when it comes, doesn’t say anything about when the project gets built.

Nearby, on the other side of  Perwinkle Creek, the city approved a 107-unit apartment project  in July 2022. So far I haven’t seen any construction going on. (hh)

19 responses to “Hearings set on new apartment complex”

  1. Hartman says:

    The State Legislature is charged with changing land use laws, not MS Kotek. Please call on Boshart-Davis to achieve the changes you desire. Boshart-Davis has accomplished little, so she has the time to craft new land use legislation.

    • Anon says:

      Not exactly Hartman. Many of the state land use laws are a result of administrative rules and “policy goals” that were not created by or voted on by the legislature.

  2. Michele Huffman says:

    Why does everything have to apartment’s? Why not town houses or duplexes and Why can’t the housing costs be more affordable? It seems all the developers want is to pack a lot of people into smaller and smaller places and than charge an outrageous amount of rent and include nothing in that rent. What has happened to the Oregon that I use to know?

    • Abe Cee says:

      You sort of answered your own questions. Why no duplexes or town homes? Because they can’t rent or be sold for enough to cover the costs incurred to build them. The developers already need to recoup $2.5 just to cover the purchase cost of the property. (That’s roughly $60k per apartment by itself.) Add on the expense to do all the bureaucratic paperwork, planning and actual construction, and they’d never break even building anything other than apartments. It’s an investment for them. They likely don’t care if you can’t afford the apartment as they know 42 other people/families will do so in your place.

  3. Rich Kellum says:

    Hasso, this should be approved, these folks have been stabbed enough. They built a building to code, had a tenant in it, The City changed the zoning so that the building no longer fit the zoning, The tenant went out of business, and the property sat idle for years and that let the use become non compliant, so they could not use the building for anything. They came to Bessie and myself for help and we got council approval for a compromise. if this is not approved it is verging on a taking by law. This problem was 100 percent made by the City and the City should make it right as soon as possible.

  4. MarK says:

    Sure would be nice if our infrastructure grew as fast as our developments did. Our roads already don’t support us. Our businesses don’t support us. I’m afraid that our emergency services soon won’t be able to support us.
    Big city problems come with big city growth.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Our businesses don’t support us. Tell me Mark, did you support them???

      • MarK says:

        I RARELY shop anywhere other than Albany. By not supporting, I meant that there are not enough stores to support the influx of so many “new additions”.

        • Rich Kellum says:

          OK what is it mark that you can not find here?

        • Rich Kellum says:

          Mark, sorry

          • MarK says:

            It’s not what can’t be found. It’s having twice the number of people in the stores we currently have. It seems like the only store added since this current development push is a tire store. And from what we’re seeing, a couple of new car dealerships are coming. How about a couple of everyday places like grocery stores?

  5. chris j says:

    The city is already practicing a taking by law when it vacated jefferson street to give to the helpng hands shelter, which is a private non profit, not a public government project. Cannibalizing the existing community to promote, what they consider positive growth is counterproductive to maintaining a balanced and well thought out community.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Not quite right Chris, the City gave the street back to the people who owned it before it was a street, Helping hands and the people on the corner

      • chrisj says:

        The 26 feet to create a paved area was given to the shelter as a requirement for the parking lot. So 13 feet was taken from the corner lot by the city.

  6. Vickie Russell says:

    Are any of the apartment allocated as low income units? It seems there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing here in Albany. Does the city have any ordinance for low income housing? Just wondering. Thanks

  7. chris j says:

    Mr. Kellum, the city gave actually 650+ square feet of the corner owners property to widen the street from 20″ to 26″ to helping hands to meet the requirements of the parking lot. The city took it by eminent domain.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Between you and I Chris one of us voted on that, there was no taking by eminent domain, or we would have had to vote on the taking as well.

  8. chris j says:

    The city voted on the zone change for Mega foods too. Did you vote on that? Did you read the HH article on the city pushing the Jefferson street right of way vacation even though the owner opposed it. They had enough area to stop the vacation by ordinance rules. So it was a taking.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      I did vote for a change at the Mega Foods building to allow the owners to use their property, but I did not vote for the change in the zoning that kept the owners from usingi it.

      In fact I did not vote to do away with Jefferson Street, what I gave was a sense of the council head nod to tell staff to put something together for the council to look at.


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