HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Staff wants less height in 2 new buildings

Written May 3rd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The northeast corner lot at Fourth and Calapooia, the subject of Wednesday’s scheduled hearing.

The Albany planning staff has recommended eight conditions, including a reduction in height, for approval of two new three-story buildings in the Monteith Historic District.

Mark and Tina Siegner are asking the Albany Landmarks Commission to approve construction of two mixed-use buildings on the northeast corner lot at Fourth and Calapooia, where last year, with the city council’s approval, they demolished three dilapidated houses dating from the town’s early years.

According to the drawings, the development would be called Calapooia Court.

Landmarks will hold a remote public hearing on the request at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, but the public will be able to follow or attend the proceedings only online or by phone because of the coronavirus ban on public meetings.

New construction in Albany’s historic districts is subject to city review for compatibility. The proposed buildings were designed by architect Bill Ryals, a member of the landmarks board. He won’t vote with the commission on this item.

In a staff report, the city planning division says some aspects of the design should be changed in order to fit in. Among the recommended changes: Reduce the overall height of the 40-foot-tall buildings at least 4 feet, including 2 feet in the wall height of the first floor.

Other changes recommended by the planning staff cover items such as setback from the street; shape, size and materials of windows and doors; depth of “offsets” in the building façades; trim of window frames; texture of siding; and the material of beams and columns, which the staff wants to be made of solid wood.

This will be the first Landmarks Commission public hearing to be conducted remotely. Instructions on how to follow or participate in the meeting are included with the agenda available here.

We won’t know until it’s over how well, or whether, remote participation works in a public hearing of this kind. (hh)

Two aspects of one of the proposed buildings.



17 responses to “Staff wants less height in 2 new buildings”

  1. Jim Engel says:

    In the eras to come be they 50 or 100 years will it make a real difference? One thing for sure the Siegner’s made a “killing” on buying those lots & apparently don’t give a tinkers damn about historical & only want to max their income with a max size. O ya, they tweeked the design to look “historical” but in reality it’s the $$ they are after. Put the thumb squeeze to’em Albany Landmarks Commission!

    • Al Nyman says:

      Well Jim, if they are going to make so much money which seems to bother liberals, why didn’t you buy it and do the same thing?

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Developers willing to risk their own capital make a profit when they freely produce something that others want to buy. It makes life better. It’s called value.

      Coercive government intervention, like onerous zoning and phony historical mandates, consumes value and chips away freedom.

      Today government may put the thumb squeeze to the Siegners. Tomorrow it may be you.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “Developers willing to risk their own capital make a profit when they freely produce something that others want to buy. It makes life better. It’s called value.”

        Absolutely true! It then holds those same developers can also use all legal tools at their disposal to leverage that “production” to their bottom line. There is zero coercion forcing those developers to wade through all those oh-so-simple rules by which some of those programs are governed.

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          You use the following words in the same sentence, “zero coercion”, “rules”, and “governed.”

          Are you kidding? You do see the illogic, right?

          My advice to the Siegner’s is to go ahead and build these apartments the profitable way Ryals designed them.

          Then let’s see if the city’s response is “zero coercion.”

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            So now you’re saying they can’t be profitable unless they are built the way they are originally designed… Right. I stand by what I said.

  2. thomas cordier says:

    Will the Siegner’s be asking for CARA funding

  3. LouT says:

    I wonder what year they will be ‘allowed’ to start construction, whether it will take as long for approval as it did to demolish the old houses. Two years, three years, more…?

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    ” The proposed buildings were designed by architect Bill Ryals, a member of the landmarks board. He won’t vote with the commission on this item.”
    You’d think if anybody should be able to design a building that conforms, it should be this one.
    I hope the Siegners don’t have to pay him for additional design work.

  5. Cheryl P says:

    One would think a member of the Landmarks Board would have produced a design that would have ‘fit in’ and didn’t need to be changed. So there is either failure on the park of the designer, which means he shouldn’t be part of Board, or the city planning commission are just a bunch of Gladys Kravises and need to be replaced.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The planning commission had nothing to do with this. It’s the staff of the Planning Division that made the recommendations. As for what fits and what doesn’t, it’s a judgment call. This architect has plenty of experience with historical preservation and restoration, in Albany and elsewhere, and I would think his judgment of what’s appropriate in a historic district is as good as anybody’s. (hh)

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Anyone baffled by the pop culture reference, as I was, might find it here (spelled Kravitz):
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bewitched

  6. Dan Watson says:

    The Albany Development Code, Table 5-2, lists the maximum permissible height in the Downtown Mixed Use (DMU) zone as 85 feet.

    • Johnny Scot Van Ras says:

      Did I miss something. Did not Governor Brown and the Democrats eliminate single family zoning without a vote of the people. Therefore, new construction should not be restricted by Staff of the Planning Division, Historic Preservation Districts and / or Landmarks Boards. Now, how do you feel about the need for in-fill and and affordable housing for all?

      I would suggest the Siegners boldly state, to any and all, their intentions to build according to the plans submitted. And, if necessary, pursue legal action. It is new construction so there shouldn’t be any credits given just because it is being built in a “historical” area of Albany.

      The choice is yours, either reinstate single family zoning or wish the Siegner’s the best in their new construction.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “Did not Governor Brown and the Democrats eliminate single family zoning without a vote of the people.”

        Nope, did not happen. There is absolutely nothing in HB 2001 that “eliminate[s] single family housing.” Period.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          He said the bill eliminated single-family zoning, not housing. And he’s right.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            My bad. Obviously, you are correct. A poor choice of words on my part! I should have written that I inferred he was implying the bill as written would effectively eliminate single family housing…

 

 
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