Shady Cove crowd concerned over annexation proposal

Shady Cove should be proud of themselves. The planning commission meeting on Nov. 13 had the makings of one that could have been quite volatile. The police did a head count just as the meeting was about to start and announced 66 people were crowded into the city council chamber designed to normally hold about 25 or 30, but with an announced capacity of 60. A few more lined the walls before the evening was over. They were all there for the public hearing for an annexation and zone change on 67.84 acres owned by McBee Properties. And despite the less than comfortable conditions, everyone stayed the entire evening and everyone was courteous.

Dick Converse, principal planner for Rogue Valley Council of Governments, who assists the City of Shady Cove with planning issues, presented findings and his conclusion based on the 14 statewide goals, which are applicable to cities.    

The conceptual plan calls for 52.38 acres of single family R-1-10 (10,000 sq. ft.) lots, including 3.6 acres of park and open space, 12.21 acres of mixed use commercial and high density PUD and 15.43 acres of medium density (R-2).  

Eighteen community members spoke. Only one or two came out in actual favor of the project. Community resident John Burgess said it was his opinion if the project, which he said was part of the comprehensive plan, was not approved, the city could forget about going back to the county for a request. He referenced the urban growth expansion that occurred recently saying it  involved considerable effort to obtain county approval.

McBee Properties was represented by Herb Farber, He said without annexation there would be no water system for Shady Cove.

The McBee brothers said they had been in discussion with Ron Boehm and with PremierWest. They indicated PremierWest wants to “pick up the ball” and put in the water system, depending on what happens with the proposed annexation and development. They said without water they can’t go any further.

As community members gave their five minute testimony, the concerns were over the roads and connectivity with Rogue River Drive and Highway 62, water and sewer.

Julie and Mike Swoboda, owners of Legend Designer Homes, and owners of property adjacent to the proposed development made presentations and supplied written material concerning State Land Use Goal 2 (Land use planning); Goal 6 (Air, Water & Land Resource Quality); Goal 10 (Housing) and Goal 12 (Transportation). In each case they pointed to discrepancies or inadequacies in the proposal.

Sewer concerns were expressed in testimony prepared by Bud Rees. He said the sewer treatment plant has capacity for 2,600 EDU’s (equivalent dwelling units) and that currently 1,502 are being used which leaves 1,098. “The real question then becomes how we fairly allocate this remaining capacity? Will it be growth by our property owners currently within the city or growth by developers expanding the city limits?” questioned Rees. He said R1-10,000 zoning equates to 1,608 sewage EDUs. And there are only 1,098 EDUs remaining in the sewer system.

Planning commission member Leith Hayes asked Converse if they could consider annexation without a zone change. After some thought, Converse said he believed that was possible. 

As the evening progressed, several expressed a desire to consider annexation now  and then at some undefined time, having the developer come back for a zone change.

On a 5-0 vote, the commission voted to continue the hearing until Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. and said that new evidence could be presented at that hearing. Again, the session is scheduled in the Shady Cove City Council room. 
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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