SC residents question lack of wter and traffic in annexation; request denied

Good input by citizens at a public hearing at the Shady Cove Planning Commission meeting on February 28 may have helped the commissioners in their decision over an application for annexation and rezoning of property fronting Rogue River Drive.

Resident Bud Rees questioned how the commission could annex property into the city without an economic impact study. Although it was decided there is no way to assess future impacts, the statement led to a spirited exchange between Rees and Commissioner Tom Borgen and thoughtful discussion from the commission.

Besides asking for annexation into the city, applicants Mervin and Emma
Whitney and Nancy Brammer asked for a zone change from County Rural
Residential Five-Acres to Low-Density Residential R-20. Both the
Whitneys and Brammer who live on adjacent parcels, wanted to divide
their individual properties so their adult children could build homes
to be near their parents.
   
City Planner Dick Converse
pointed out if the zone change was approved, the land had potential for
the development of 14 homes. The applicants insisted they would not
develop more than one home per parcel because of desire to maintain a
distance from neighbors. Discussion led to the fact there are no
guarantees in the future when kids inherit property.
   
Resident
Scott Lenz said there could also be a cumulative effect down the road
when adjacent properties would also want to develop. City Administrator
Elise Smurzynski said the area is ideal for development because of the
terrain.
   
Other issues factored in, such as availability of
water. Without a municipal water system, there was concern over water
usage from the two additional homes and possible future growth.   
Resident
Carla Morey testified, "The water issue is a biggie." She told the
commission when a fire burned one third of her land and came within 100
feet of her house, she was scared. There are no hydrants in the area.
   
Because
the properties front Rogue River Drive, there was added concern over
increased traffic on the already hazardous road. Borgen said the drive
is low on county priorities. And Commissioner Jack Stout reminded the
others if the property was annexed and developed, the city would have
to maintain the streets.
   
Borgen said he was torn on this
annexation. He added there was no basis to turn the application down
because it met the criteria including the city’s charter and goals. But
in the end the commission did turn it down in a three-to-two vote
against the city planner’s recommendation. (Borgen voted against the
annexation.)
   
Another public hearing that evening was an
appeal of approval given previously by city staff for a minor partition
at 150 LeeAnna’s Way. Because it was an appeal, there was good humored
confusion over which party was  the appellant and which was the
applicant. Also confusing was that both parties had the last name of
Wolf.
   
As usual in Shady Cove, availability of water played a
role in the hearing. With two houses already on one well and a third
having rights to water from that well, the question arose what would
happen when the developer built a fourth house. Converse explained a
fourth residence would require the legalities of a water system.
   
Steve
Wolf, seeking the partition, said the fourth house, when developed,
would be on a new well. The commissioners stipulated a well test be
done first to see if the new well would draw down from neighboring
wells. Commissioner Wanda Vairetta insisted the agreement of testing be
part of the record. Converse pointed out the high cost of drilling a
well to check for draw down. The well would not be used in the case of
negative findings.
   
Inadequate access to the three homes and
an insufficient turnaround for large vehicles such as fire trucks also
garnered much attention.
   
After much discussion, it became
apparent the proponents and opponents of the partition were willing to
compromise. They agreed the recommendation by Public Works Director
George Bostic and the city engineer would be satisfactory to all. In
addition to the well test, a 22-foot wide right-of-way and a
turn-around for large vehicles would be finished as a condition before
the final plat, ruled Bostic.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent

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