A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

N. Albany Park project still awaits permit

Written April 11th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The old, closed restroom at North Albany Park was still there, old and closed, on April 8.

It was in February that Benton County awarded a contract to replace the restroom in North Albany Park, but neither the demolition of the old one nor the new construction has begun. I wondered what was holding things up.

“Permitting. That is the only delay,” said Jesse Ott, head of the Benton County parks department. “We are going back and forth on some details and we actually have a community member from N. Albany that has extensive planning and permitting experience that just offered to help us work through some options with the city.”

At the City of Albany, Engineering Manager Aaron Hiemstra explained in an email:

“Public Works’ main concern on the building permit itself is the location of the proposed restroom and a portion of the building encroaching into a public sewer easement. Public Works staff reached out to Benton County with this issue directly.”

Benton County’s plan for the new restroom shows the structure right next to — touching but not over — a 20-foot-wide sanitary sewer easement running north and south through the county park.

But it’s more complicated. Here’s an email from Hiemstra:

“The structural plans of the building show the structural truss overhangs and the building footings extending beyond the walls and encroaching into the sewer easement. The site plan only shows the exterior walls and not these structural components. They can adjust the truss and footing designs to be flush with the walls to be outside of the easement or shift the building location slightly to stay out of the easement. We typically aim to keep all portions of a building out of any public easements; we can look at small encroachments on a case-by-case basis based on the type of utility, depth of utility, and location within the easement. In the case of this easement, the sewer main is 11 feet deep and with that depth we want to keep the entire easement clear.”

The county opened bids for the restroom project on Feb. 7 and then awarded the contract to Allen & Laporte for $349,800. The Albany firm submitted the lowest of six bids.

Albany’s online register of building permits says the permit for the 520-square-foot restroom was submitted on March 13 or 14 (both dates are shown). On Thursday, April 11, it was still listed as “pending review.”

As far as park visitors are concerned, it would be helpful for the permit issue to be resolved quickly so the contractor can start. The old restroom has long been locked up, and summer is on its way. (hh)

Here’s Benton County’s site plan for the restroom replacement showing the sewer easement.

5 responses to “N. Albany Park project still awaits permit”

  1. Richard Vannice says:

    How can the city be so picky about this and miss 80 buildings instead of the 22 approved?

    • MarK says:

      Just another example of our (poor) planning department.

      • Hasso Hering says:

        Albany planning has nothing to do with this project. Why this constant griping about the city administration?

        • Matthew Calhoun says:

          Because that is 99% of your commenters Hasso. You’ve got to know that? This is their playground. If the city government gave one month free on everyone’s utility bill they’d complain about that too. The answer is always that anything the people do at city hall is stupid and they are all incompetent and unprofessional, even if the issue has nothing to do with local authority.

  2. chris j says:

    The city is not stupid, incompetent or unprofessional. The city is calculating, self serving and manipulative. The city politely undermines the needs of the people for their own gain. World governments have practiced that strategy for eons. We get entertainment, enablement etc. instead of support that betters us as a whole, such as maintaining local businesses, streets and preschools.


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