Neighborhood concern has prompted the city planning division to schedule a public hearing on a riverside apartment complex proposed near Bowman Park.
“We received eight written comment letters,” planner Melissa Anderson told me this morning. “Due to the public interest in the project, the Community Development Department will be initiating a public hearing and sending out notice to conduct a public hearing before the Planning Commission on June 17.”
Willamette River View Holdings owns about 6 acres on the river east of Bowman Park, including the former Permawood industrial site and adjacent lots on Linn Avenue. The owners submitted a site plan for 96 apartments and nine townhomes, plus a clubhouse and 217 parking spaces. Their name for the project: “The Banks.”
The public comment period ended May 6. At issue is whether the site plan meets criteria in the city’s development code. The site’s zoning allows for apartments, and the planning staff could have made the decision on its own but decided to let it go to the planning commission instead.
I took a look at the letters from neighbors today. They came from residents on nearby streets such as Front and Willamette Avenues and Alco and Chicago Streets. The writers are mostly concerned about the overall effect of the project on their neighborhood. They doubt that their streets can accommodate the additional traffic and wonder who will pay to upgrade them.
Of particular concern is the intersection of Geary and Salem Avenue, rated as one of the city’s most frequent crash sites and the only one without a signal.
One couple living on Front Avenue also questions whether the development is in keeping with the Willamette River Greenway. They fear the complex will destroy riverside habitat and interrupt wildlife migration routes.
The Albany development code lays out criteria the project must meet. They include that it be “reasonably compatible” with the neighborhood and that the transportation system can handle the additional traffic. Along the river, the code also says wildlife and scenic qualities of the banks must be protected.
Whether these and other criteria are met will be up to the planning commission to decide when it meets on June 17. (hh)