HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The drive for more housing: Two decisions

Written October 6th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

This land on Lochner Road, shown in February, will be divided as 113 lots for single-family detached houses.

The march for more housing continues in Albany as the planning commission has just approved a proposal for 113 lots on former farmland at the south end of town. It also recommended a zone change to allow apartments on a residential lot on Waverly Drive.

The action took place when the commission met Monday, holding hearings in each case. Both involved applicants from Central Oregon.

Back in March, the city council annexed 35 acres of vacant land on the east side of Lochner Road S.E. Since then, Hayden Homes of Redmond submitted plans for a two-phase subdivision of 56 and 57 lots respectively, where the company plans to build 113 single-family, detached houses in clusters designed to protect wetlands and other natural features.

They will call the development “Meadowlark Estates.” (Chances are meadowlarks will be as rare among the 113 houses there as pheasant are among the 140-plus lots of Pheasant Run, which Hayden built in North Albany.)

A representative of Sno-Temp, the cold-storage company on the west side of Lochner, raised concerns about trucks mixing with more residential traffic on the road. He also wondered about the — normally rare — occasions when the north end is blocked by an Albany & Eastern freight train and the south end is closed because of flooding along Oak Creek. He suggested that Meadowlark Estates have an access route from the east, but the suggestion went nowhere.

The planning commission was unanimous in approving a preliminary plat for Meadowlark Estates, along with more than two dozen conditions dealing with trails, sidewalks and other, more routine details.

This layout of Meadowlark Estates was part of the planning commission agenda.

In the other case, the commission voted 6-0, over the objection of neighbors, to recommend that the council  amend the comprehensive plan and change the zoning to allow apartments on the 1.38-acre lot at 241 Waverly Drive S.E.

One neighbor worried about additional traffic and parking problems on this block of Waverly, between Pacific Boulevard and Salem Avenue. Another said she didn’t want to lose the tall trees on the densely wooded lot, where she said she had seen all kind of birds including ospreys and bald eagles.

The site now has one house and four addresses. The owner, who lives in Bend, had requested the same zone change before, but the city council turned him down in 2015. The new request comes up before the council on Oct. 27. (hh)

The property at 241 Waverly Drive, where a zone change is being requested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





14 responses to “The drive for more housing: Two decisions”

  1. June Buechting says:

    Actually, there are large flocks of Oregon Meadowlark in that area. I lived on 40th and had large groups of them come onto my little lot.

  2. john marble says:

    If you build it they will come.

    If you think the evolution of central Oregon from a rural Mecca to a traffic-choked metro area is a good thing, this project should make you happy.

    No doubt, there is money to be made here.

    The fact that your planning commission unanimously supports this kind of project tells you where Albany is headed.

    Bye-bye meadowlarks.

  3. Harry Renouf says:

    Will the city water supply and sewage plant be able to handle the new demand?

    • Bob Woods says:

      Yes.

      Oregon Land Use laws require governments to plan ahead. Growth is required to be accommodated WITHIN cities and their urban growth boundaries. Every 10 years they do reviews to see if the urban growth boundaries need to be expanded to cover additional growth.

      This is exactly why you still see farmland and forests outside of cities. The #1 reason that that our land use system works so well is because of preserving farms and resource lands.

      Do you want to see what it looks like where those kinds of protections did not exist?

      Visit California.

      • Sharon Konopa says:

        Correct Bob, but planning department should have required and annexation agreement to pay for the needed east street connection and new bridges before they built. I bet your former bosses would have demanded an agreement! Planning staff dropped the ball on this one and I say this was poor poor urban planning. You know the results now! This will become a future ugly nightmare of a local improvement district once the area is built out. Not fair to future councils. It could have been prevented.

    • JoshFMason says:

      Yes, but the roads won’t! And Albany’s status quo-biased Planning Commission will continue to approve more and more new subdivisions whilst minimizing the real and regularly raised transportation and access concerns by locals. Perhaps in thirty years when development within the urban growth boundary has reached full capacity and N. Albany and S. Albany are douglas-fir free and indistinguishable from each other the city can commission a study for ways to address a longstanding severe car congestion problem.

      • Bob Woods says:

        Just so you’re clear on how the urban Growth Boundary works, at any point in time the Comprehensive Plan attempts to have enough developable land for a 20 year supply available within the Urban Growth Boundary.

        As long as people have children, and medicine keeps us alive longer, the population will continue to grow. All those houses are being sold, so the market is there.

        For the last 10 to 15 years the planners have been aware that Global Climate Change is likely to exacerbate the number of people relocating towards Oregon, because we’re a coastal state.

        • Jody Harmon says:

          I don’t like the massive growth in Albany and Lebanon. The traffic, congestion, prices going up, the city’s add on fee of $9 a month to do whatever with, which isn’t a small thing to many of us……feels like Oregon is getting crammed with people. The freeway north from Albany to Salem is sometimes bumper to bumper in places. Anyhow, feels like Albany is shooting to be the next Portland on a fast track.

  4. Mae says:

    These massive housing developments seem to be approved without thought to current residents. Where are the plans for new schools, fire or police substations, road infrastructure, parks or other free community enrichments needed to handle this influx of new residents? There will be a tipping point where demand for services vs. availability cannot be met.

    A unanimous vote from the planning commission shows where the city stands on this.

  5. Ben says:

    The NIMBY attitude needs adjustment, the open border policy of our current administration, coupled with the pent up demand for housing after the housing crisis created an acute housing shortage. Communities should welcome every step in the housing ladder as addition to our city. The right way to drive down housing cost inflation in is to create more supply than demand, the only way to hedge against inflation is to develop attainable housing units that people can afford to buy. Stop deaminizing development. despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Open border policy? LOL Go ask a Haitian that was just rounded up.

      Secondly, these homes will not be built fast enough nor priced low enough to make any dent in the supply/demand theory to even matter.

    • Sharon Konopa says:

      Ben your comment believing more housing will lower the cost. Sorry I majorly disagree! I have lived here my whole life and we have had many housing bursts and the prices have never never gone down. That is an old pro-development industry salesman pitch to justify more housing. You are welcome to prove me wrong. The only time home prices have declined in my lifetime here was in the early 80’s recession and the Great Recession. The prices have always rebounded. The only time I have seen home prices stay flat is with less demand from people moving here. And, I personally do not want Albany to become the size of Portland.

    • Abe Cee says:

      And a large portion of that percentage is comprised of Alaska and fly over states that will likely always be open. The problem with the dream of affordable housing is that it’s counter to real life where developers will charge what they can get to maximize profit. Then there is the continual demand for increasing taxes and fees to pay for all this new growth.

  6. Fed-up says:

    I think it’s time to put a “new building” moratorium on the ballot. Let the citizens decide in they want this mass of new building to continue. I for one DON’T!

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