A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Tree protection? Albany doesn’t have much

Written July 18th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

The ribbons around their trunks probably mean trouble for these oaks on Franklin Avenue S.E.

The Albany Planning Division is processing a request for a zone change that would allow more and smaller residential lots on a piece of undeveloped woodland off Franklin Avenue and Airport Road.

I wrote about the wooded site in May, and a bike ride took me past there again this past Sunday. The ribbons on some of the oaks made me wonder about the city’s rules on protecting mature trees.

There’s a section on “tree protection” in the Albany development code. What it boils down to is that trees of a certain size are supposed to be left alone — unless they’re in the way of development, in which case they can be cut down.

Mike Shults, of St. Paul, OR, has applied for a zone change on the 6.5-site, whose address is 840 Airport Road. The request is to change the resdidential zone from R-6.5 to R-5,  which would lower the minimum lot size from 6,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

The request may go to a hearing before the planning commission in August and then be scheduled for a hearing by the city council in September, but planner Melissa Anderson told me that schedule is still tentative.

The zoning issue is separate from any develoment plans, which have not been filed and will also be subject to city review and approval when they are. But the developer has held a neighborhood meeting, which the city requires before plans are filed.

Whether any part of this little urban woodland is intended to be preserved, the site plan will show. (hh)

3 responses to “Tree protection? Albany doesn’t have much”

  1. j. jacobosn says:

    Trees are an entirely renewable resource. Those concerned should ask developers be responsible for the amount of carbon they release by chopping down living carbon-sinks, better known as trees.

    The science on carbon-absorption by trees is well understood. A developer would simply be required to replace the absorption capability equivalent to the Developer’s proposed clear cut. The Developer could purchase tree-replacement projects anywhere in the state as long as the Developer can prove the monies went to real tree-replacement efforts. All these development costs get passed on to the final customer, but that’s nothing new. Under the carbon replacement plan, the home-buyer will now be paying a little bit more of the real costs of building McMansions and other bestial accommodations.

  2. HowlingCicada says:

    How could anybody want to live so close to the freeway in that location, unless the price is really low? Reminds me of the houses overlooking the railroad tracks, except this is a never-ending 24/7/365 roar. The only saving grace is those trees, which will probably be removed. All assuming it’s developed the usual way, and maybe named Oak Hollow to commemorate what’s been lost.

    Here’s something different which makes the most of a bad location. Divide the property into two areas:

    1 – A shallow strip facing Airport Road. Here is where all the garages go. Sold or leased separately to encourage fewer cars, while still accomodating the motorheads. Also, mail and package delivery hub. Maybe even a neighborhood store.

    2 – A car-free residential area with groups of houses and/or townhouses, etc, of various sizes scattered among the better trees, separated from the garages and the freeway with a wall tall enough and designed properly to block most of the noise. The wall can be partially extended on other sides to further minimize noise. The front (east) noise-wall also serves as the rear garage wall, with doors for private access to each unit.

    Throughout this area are walk/bike/golf-cart paths wide enough for emergency access, and fire lanes as needed. Not needing the large area that would have been used for streets and driveways allows for more, smaller houses without feeling more crowded. The biggest demand is for smaller houses.

    With some out-of-the-box thinking, this could be a wonderful place instead of a mini-McMansion dump.

  3. Al Nyman says:

    This is a wonderful retail site and a ghastly residential site. No out of the box thinking in Albany.


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