A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Increase proposed in plan for apartments

Written June 18th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The plan for The Banks shows a 10-foot-wide riverfront walking path here. (May 2019 photo)

Developers of The Banks, a proposed riverfront apartment complex near Bowman Park, have asked for approval of a change in their site plan. They’d like to build 120 units, up from 105 the Albany Planning Commission approved last July.

The city planning division has posted a notice of the application from Salem-based Willamette River View Holdings II. It notified property owners within 1,000 feet and asked for comments by July 1.

At this point the decision is up to the staff. But that could change depending on the feedback, as it did last year when the planning staff submitted the request to the planning commission.

Represented by AKS Engineering and Forestry of Keizer, the applicants say they’d like to increase the number of apartments to generate more rental income, made necessary by a substantial increase in the projected cost of construction and operation of the complex.

The new plan calls for eight three-story buildings and one one-story clubhouse. The apartments would be smaller than originally envisioned, the applicants say, and the new plan would allow for more units with a view of the Willamette River.

The application says the proposal is for “needed housing” as defined in state law, and as such the city must apply only clear development standards and not subjective ones.

The 6-acre site, formerly industrial, is zoned for apartments, and the old site plan met all the city’s standards. So it’s a good bet that the new one does too.

The building height, 36 feet 2 inches, would be less than the previously approved 39 feet. The zoning allows up to 45 feet.

Parking spaces would number 218, one more than before. The density would be 19 units per acre rather than 17.

At a public hearing a year ago, several neighboring residents and property owners opposed this massive addition to what now is a quiet neighborhood of small houses on streets that are only partially improved. But the eventual fate of this site was foreshadowed when the city zoned it for “medium density residential” in 2003. (hh)

The story was edited to correct the number of buildings proposed.


16 responses to “Increase proposed in plan for apartments”

  1. William Ayers says:

    I would love to understand what is powering Albany’s growth and whether it’s the same in every small town in Oregon. I’ve yet to hear a coherant answer to this question. I’m really in the dark on this.

  2. Sarah says:

    The issue with apartments is the fact that crime levels go up along with trash debris. The other issue is the fact that it will cause more traffic congestion due to more cars moving through the area and parking may become an issue. What about wildlife in the area? What are you going to do to alleviate these issues?

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Do you have any evidence to back up your “fact” about crime? Especially with new, professionally-managed apartment complexes.

      Seems to me, from several years’ newspaper stories, that the biggest trouble spots in Albany and Corvallis are rental housing in old, dilapidated single-family houses, duplexes, or old, little apartment buildings. Many in that part of town. Just an impression — I don’t claim it as “fact.”

  3. James Engel says:

    With that much density will there be a need for a proper traffic signal at Geary & Salem to handle the traffic on Geary?? Pack’em in like sardines it seems. Three stories really. How will that development impact Bowman Park & the public’s access to a riverbank?

  4. H. R. Richner says:

    State law defines “needed housing” you say? When could we the people ever have come up with such a vile, totalitarian notion?

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “A vile, totalitarian notion” to keep cities from prohibiting needed housing? Really?

      • hj.anony1 says:

        Such an..ahhh X-Roads. Some would call it Cross Roads or Crossroads.

        What shall we do?

  5. Richard Vannice says:

    What is powering Albany’s growth? Commuters who work in Salem, Eugene and Portland.
    A year or so ago a report said that Millersburg was the fastest growing city in the state due to the higher rental costs in the “metropolitan” area. Don’t know whether or not this is still accurate or not.
    Out of eight neighbors in our area 2 work in Salem and commute. If you build they will come.
    If you want to stop growth raise the costs to that of the metro area.

    • William Ayers says:

      One theory I heard was that the metro areas are being flooded by californicators and the suburban areas are being flooded by escapees from the metro areas fleeing the californicaiton of their cities …ergo Albany’s role in the above.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        I’m a direct Californicator of Corvallis — no need for Portland, etc. Of course, I didn’t start in CA. We need a colorful epithet for those who escape the loony asylum of Florida (didn’t start there either). Bend has also been attractive to Californicators. A little further east (and north) you can hear “Don’t Bend Walla Walla.”

        If you want slow/no growth and lower rents:
        1 – Send OSU off to Roseburg or Grants Pass.
        2 – Get govt. to work a little (or maybe a lot) harder to discourage jobs and make things really difficult for business.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          However, if you do achieve “lower rents,” won’t that exacerbate the issue of people moving here (and working elsewhere) because of the lower rents? Another Catch-22?

      • HowlingCicada says:

        A couple ideas to make Albany/Corvallis undesirable that I forgot:

        1 – If you can’t get rid of OSU, get them to close McDonald Forest to the public and clear-cut as much of it as you can before anyone notices (big dust-up recently caught them flat-footed — evil liberal environmentalists and preservationists made a big stink;). I didn’t know about the place when I moved here, but it sure helped keep me from moving on to maybe Bentonville AR (super rail-trail area) or Carmel IN (interesting place with interesting Republican mayor, highest number of traffic roundabouts in US).

        2 – Bring back dirty industry — good living-wage jobs. When I passed thru Oregon City in 1970, it stank incredibly. Pulp mill? Need something worse — the one in Halsey doesn’t seem to stink much.

        Why should Albanians care what happens in Corvallis? Because in most states, cities just seemlessly blend into each other and the countryside. Liberals call it sprawl. If we were in a normal, unattractive state, you wouldn’t know or care which city you were in. Hey, there’s another idea without even trying.

  6. Ron says:

    Hope they have a good job. New units in Lebanon for a two bedroom looking at average of 1400$/ month not counting utilities and food.

  7. Marilyn says:

    Salem Ave and Geary is a crap shoot now. Wonder how many additional accidents will occur with the proposed growth??

  8. Albany home owner, taxpeasant says:

    Let’s be honest. Albany needs affordable housing. Riverfront apartments will be expensive, high-end housing and won’t be affordable to the average wage earner in Albany. (This isn’t West Linn or Lake Oswego.) Just claim it will be great tax revenue, but claiming it will help the “needed housing” issue Albany is experiencing, is intellectually dishonest.
    Isn’t this just gentrification?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “… but claiming it will help the “needed housing” issue Albany is experiencing, is intellectually dishonest.”

      Interesting… Since when are apartments any less needed than single-family residences? If there’s a demand for, what’s the issue? (I’ve never remotely considered an apartment complex as “gentrification” either.)


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