A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

NA apartment plan clears hurdle

Written July 10th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

The barricade at Hickory and Adam streets marks what will be the western entry to the Hickory Hollow apartments in North Albany.

The neighbors may not like it, but the Albany Planning Commission on Monday approved the site plan for Hickory Hollow, a 48-unit apartment complex behind five single-family houses facing Hickory Street.

The project is the first apartment development in North Albany for which city approval has been sought and given. A second, larger potential development awaits action by the city council in August on a requested zone change.

In the Hickory Hollow case, the zoning allows what developer Charles Weathers, of Salem, wants to do. All he needed was city approval of his site plan, which calls for four three-story buildings with 12 units each. The planning staff approved the plan because it was deemed to meet all the requirements of the city’s development code, but a number of neighbors appealed to the planning commission.

“We would like to stop this development in our neighborhood,” said Jay Hoffmeister, of 837 Hickory  St. N.W. Barring that, he said, the neighbors wanted the two buildings closest to their houses reduced to two stories. They didn’t get that either.

The buildings at issue are in the RM or medium-density residential zone and according to the planning staff will be 35 feet tall, less than allowed. And as for compatibility with single-family homes nearby, the staff said that standard is met by setbacks, screening and landscape buffering.

Any further appeal would have to go to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. But since the project fits in with the zoning and complies with the Albany development code, it’s hard to see how the board could find fault.

The vote to affirm the staff’s approval of the site and tree-felling plan was 5-1, with only Roger Phillips voting no. Joann Miller, Cordell Post, Larry Tomlin, Dala Rouse and Linsey Brown voted yes.

Weathers, the developer, is 34. He told me after the hearing he’s been building houses for 12 years and this is his first apartment venture. He got a bank to back his plan, which at this point he expects to cost $3.9 million. Excavation contractors are hard to get right now, he said, but he still hopes he might be able to start preparing the site in August. (hh)





13 responses to “NA apartment plan clears hurdle”

  1. tom cordier says:

    So once again home owners/taxpayers get shafted by some unelected commission.

    • centrist says:

      Or, the well-defined process worked

    • DaleS says:

      Would you prefer the unelected commission not follow the zoning rules?

    • Shane says:

      How did they get “shafted”? They approved what the zoning clearly allowed.

      “But since the project fits in with the zoning and complies with the Albany development code, it’s hard to see how the board could find fault.”

  2. Tony White says:

    Homeowners should check zoning before they buy or build. The “not in my back yard” philosophy is very typical of double-standard liberal thinking.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      I observed too many tRump for pResident signs in NA this past season.

      So NiMbY strikes my side as well as your reThug thinking as well.

      Dine on that thought.

    • centrist says:

      Haven’t found enough “liberals” in Albany to make a City Council quorum.
      Observation over many years is that NIMBY is a conservative trait. Conservatives are, by definition, holding on to the status quo.
      By the way, land use planning/zoning got into high gear during the McCall era, led by a Linn County Republican.

  3. John Jay says:

    Sure hope the new city manager takes a long look at city planning or lack thereof. Not impressed with skill sets.

  4. Herald Godson says:

    Local and state governments have no lawful authority to tell an owner of private property what to do on, or with, that property.

    Zoning is a relatively recent intrusion by government on the property rights of private owners. It is yet another step to achieve the progressive-socialist agenda.

    If the actions of one private property owner harms another private property owner, the dispute should be resolved in a court of law, not in some phony land use bureaucracy.

    Zoning constitutes an exercise of police power, a power that should be exercised only by the courts, not local planning commissions, city councils, and state bureaucracies.

    • centrist says:

      Easy there.
      Zoning isn’t so much about control, but more about protecting individuals’ property rights from intrusive behavior by others. Granted that the judiciary could resolve that case-by-case. At that point, either the judge follows written rules or just makes them up.
      By the way land use planning was codified during the McCall era because a Linn County Republican championed it. No socialist there.

      • Herald Godson says:

        Government bureaucracies are concerned about protecting individuals’ rights? Time for a reality check.

        Government “solutions” serve the interest of government first. Actual community needs come a distant second. The needs of individual citizens bring up the rear.

  5. Shawn says:

    Seems like it was the correct legal decision.

    If home owners want to preserve open space near them, they could consider joining forces economically and purchase land for sale near their homes. Short of that, I don’t see a legal or moral other option.


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