More density: Looking at a request to rezone – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

More density: Looking at a request to rezone

Written April 25th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

A look 2710 Grand Prairie Road, an address about to be rezoned for higher density.

Because Albany Councilman Dick Olsen stepped on the brake, the rezoning of a big tree-studded single-family lot for more apartments has been delayed three weeks, but chances are it will be approved when it comes up again on May 13.

The 1.3-acre property is at 2710 Grand Prairie Road, on the southeast corner of Grand Prairie and Waverly Drive, across from Grand Prairie Park on one side and the Latter-day Saints Church on the other. The site holds a single-family house built in 1955 and some outbuildings. On the tax rolls it’s valued at $159,240. Last May, the Spies Real Estate Group of Corvallis bought the place for $291,500.

Now they have asked the city to rezone the property from “residential medium density” to “residential medium density attached.” The planning commission endorsed the request. The city council held a public hearing during its remote, virtual meeting last week and was ready to approve the zone change.

But Olsen questioned the idea of apartments at the site, and he withheld his support for the unanimous consent required to have the rezoning ordinance read by title only at the same meeting. So final action was put off till May 13.

The present zone allows a maximum of 32 units on the 1.3-acre lot, compared to 45 units under the proposal. But there are rules on the size of units allowed in the space available. With the “attached” zoning, the site could hold 37 one-bedroom units or 31 two- or three-bedroom units. The existing zone allows 28 of the smaller apartments or 23 bigger ones.

Single-family residences are not allowed in the proposed new zone; housing units must be “attached” instead. Attached units are allowed but not required in the present zone and can’t be taller than 45 feet. In the proposed zone, buildings may be up to 60 feet tall.

There’s no on-street parking at the intersection, and Olsen wondered where residents would park. A representative of the Corvallis engineering firm on the project testified he was confident the required parking would fit within the property.

The council got no public comment on the zone change.

All this took up some time at the virtual council session last Wednesday. On Saturday the bike took me to the southeast Albany neighborhood around Grand Prairie Park, so I took a look at the site.

A wooden fence on the property has fallen apart, but aside from that, the quiet lot looked like it had been a very pleasant place to live for the 65 years since the house was built. I imagine the trees are all going to go once the developers submit a site plan, get it approved and start building something that meets the requirements of “medium density attached.” (hh)

Looking at the site from near the corner of Waverly and Grand Prairie.


27 responses to “More density: Looking at a request to rezone”

  1. Lonnie Simon says:

    More more apartments! We need more nice single family homes let’s not let are nice Albany turn into “the projects”.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Happy to read you’re one of the folks who can afford a “nice single family home[s].” However, way too many folks cannot – and that being exacerbated by the current situation.

      • Johnny Scot Van Ras says:

        I object to the re-zoning. Thank goodness Dick Olsen is looking out for the livability of Ward 3 because Bessie Johnson sure isn’t. Ray, how many high density apartments in your neighborhood? why apartments? Last i heard, rent isn’t exactly cheap. why not a nicely designed complex of 10-12 “tiny homes”.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “Ray, how many high density apartments in your neighborhood?”
          None – I’m not aware of a lot large enough, but, there are many lots that could have an ADU within 2-3 blocks of our home.

          ” why apartments? Last i heard, rent isn’t exactly cheap.”
          You’d have to ask the developer, but it seems pretty obvious to me. And renting is cheaper than buying for majority of folks.

          “why not a nicely designed complex of 10-12 ‘tiny homes’.”
          Ask the developer. If you could pencil that to the bottom line, it might work

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Within 5-6 blocks we have a large number of apartment complexes on Belmont. Also have a smaller one at corner of Pacific & Morse. (We live on Tamarack Ct SW.)

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Increasing density makes the global warming folks happy because it shrinks Albany’s carbon footprint. But more dense living increases the risk of spreading a bug during a pandemic.

    So, protecting public health vs. solving climate change There isn’t enough money to fix both.

    Who will win this competition?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      There you go again. False choices IMO. There’s no question in my mind that considering the inevitable population increases and the increasing cost disparity of owning a single-family abode vs. an apartment, it’s inevitable to have more dense housing.

      • William Ayers says:

        U.S. pop growth has been decreasing steadily for the last decade.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        False choices? The author of this article in MIT Technology Review doesn’t think so.

        He comes down hard on giving priority to responding to a pandemic, even if it “drains money and political will from climate efforts.”

        But, hey, Ray knows better than the MIT slackers, right?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          We already *ARE* “coming down hard” on giving the pandemic priority – or haven’t you noticed. So tell me why we haven’t seen exponential increases in occurrences in all apartment complexes here or in Oregon? I say it’s because of our lock-down and “coming down hard” – which is slowing the expanse and is ALSO helping clean the environment. I see no dichotomy there.

  3. Sue says:

    That was always such a nicely maintained property until the last year or so. What a shame to put in apartments. What’s wrong with single family housing? The neighborhood doesn’t need another apartment complex.

  4. Jim Thomas says:

    We need to stop this incessant march toward ever greater housing density. Single family homes should never be prohibited. We have a greater responsibility to provide a pleasant environment for current residents than we do to accommodate people who may want to live here in the future. In addition, I want to know why the push for density on the west side of the state, while at the same time counties on the east side are about to classify a large tract of land as unbuildable simply because they don’t want people there.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””… counties on the east side are about to classify a large tract of land as unbuildable simply because they don’t want people there.”””

      Where? How? If you don’t have a link, at least give me enough hints so I can search for it. Please. Thank you.

  5. thomas cordier says:

    Thanks to Dick Olsen for saying NO to another project. Higher densities only cause future problems–offer no benefits to society. Call me Dick if you actually havea public meeting to testify

    • William Ayers says:

      What he said! Anybody that wants to slow our roll from turning Albany into an overpopulated unrecognizable mess has my support! And thank you Thomas!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      So where & how are you going to “house” the people moving to town?

      • thomas cordier says:

        not our (government) responsibility to find housing for those moving here. Before anyone relocates they should look at housing costs/rental costs and growth plans.
        Move to an area you can afford

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          It seems to me that if the housing being built finds occupants, the costs meet the requirements of the folks renting or purchasing – which definitely includes location. You are implying that “our government” is somehow helping them find housing by allowing more housing to be built. Good luck trying to disallow any developer doing his/her job.

      • William Ayers says:

        What people? You mean the ones commuting to work in PDX, Salem and Eugene?

  6. William Ayers says:

    After reading Hasso’s latest submission on pop density here I just happened to see a Glenn Beck vid on Youtube on the subject …so here’s the link if anyone’s interested

    • HowlingCicada says:

      I’m interested. I watched it. The interviewee’s website has a few grains of reasonable opinion, maybe even truth, and a vast mountain range of highly imaginative paranoia.

      • William Ayers says:

        Who could possibly be paranoid about the ever benevolent UN and the WHO and their friends in the CCP? And by the way, Dr. Tedros just the best!

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Glenn Beck Ha! The latest to cash in peddling conspiracies. Ha ahahahah!

  7. HowlingCicada says:

    I don’t understand why a residential lot of ANY density on a 45-mph highway is worth preserving, especially when surrounded by a 170+ space parking lot.


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