Traffic study major issue on SC Flywater project

At the end of Thursday night’s Shady Cove Planning Commission meeting, one audience member good naturedly asked that the planning commission no longer meet on nights when the Trail Blazers are in the playoffs. However since the Blazers lost by about 30 points – it’s a safe bet the meeting was the more exciting of the two events and lasted nearly as long.

There were two items on the agenda; one a consideration of a partition of property, one a public hearing for a zoning change.

First up was a request to partition one lot into two at 250 Sowell. The commissioners had many concerns around this appeal. Commissioners Ed Mayer and Donna Barrett both felt the partition seemed too small for the proposed partition and planned houses (a duplex in front of a single family dwelling). Additionally a shared drive essentially made the rear parcel a flag lot. An additional driveway could be added so issues around a shared drive could be avoided. However that would still leave one driveway running the length of both properties.

Water, as always, was a concern. The owner is willing to forgo drilling a second well, however a well that was to service one dwelling would still be servicing two (one possibly a duplex), putting a strain on resources. There were also concerns about the condition of the streets in the area and what two dwellings would do by way of increased traffic. Lastly was the ongoing concern over the city’s past propensity to divide lots such as the one in question – creating crowded conditions lacking in aesthetics.

In the end concerns over water and street resources won out and the request was denied.

After a 5 minute break the public hearing on the re-zone began. Currently the 19.59 acre parcel located at the end of Brophy Way has a “Public” designation. Applicant Flywater, LLC would like to split the land in to 2 parcels both with an R2 (medium density) zone. From there 14.69 acres will be used for future housing development and the remaining 4.9 will be given to the city for use as a public park.

Staff comments included the usual long lists of conditions, many centering on the river as this property runs adjacent to it. Of note the Riparian Zone must be planted and maintained.

Of major concern was the impact any development would have on traffic in the area. The proposal included two possible construction plans; one houses, one mobile homes. Neither is the final plan and the land may eventually be re-re-zoned to R3. The plans shown were merely to give the commissioners an idea of the types of construction that could be done.

With the final zoning and types housing still up in the air, estimates for traffic impact varied greatly. ADT’s (Average Daily Trips) ran from 287 to 690 and a few points in between. Additionally many wondered what type of park could be made from the 4.9 acres – most of which is firmly in the flood plain. Upshot: three-quarters of an acre of the 4.9 acres is able to be developed, though river access and trails could be created in the remainder of the acreage.

The applicant did note that they would improve Brophy Way in the affected area, including adding sidewalks on one side of the road. ODOT also weighed in noting that right and or left turn lanes might need to be added to Hwy. 62 depending on the eventual/actual ADT’s. The applicant noted they would pay for same.

After lots of Q & A and discussion, Shaddox recommended to the commission that they require a full TIS (Traffic Analysis Study) be done and submitted prior to making their final recommendation to council.

Here’s why: with the variance in early guestamits, Shaddox felt a full study was needed. Further there is a road running from this parcel south to another undeveloped area of land also owned by Flywater, LLC. Shaddox feels the TIS needs to include data on what will happen when that second area is developed. He also felt the TIS should include data on the parcel in question developed as both R2 and R3.

The need for a TIS could cause the hearing to be continued up to four times. However without it, council might well send the matter back to planing who would need a second hearing to review then send it back to council–you get the picture.

The applicant would rather not get the TIS in advance of the issue going to council, but Shaddox and the planning commission stood firm.

The hearing was continued to 6:30 on May 27th by a motion and 4/0 vote (note: Commissioner Thad Gala recused himself from the public hearing as he has family ties to the applicant). Of note, the hearing will necessarily need to be continued past the 5/27 continuance as that meeting will merely give the applicant a chance to give the planning comission an accurate timeline of how long the full TIS will take.

Like basketball playoffs, it seems zoning change requests take several rounds to determine a final outcome.
By Christy Pitto
Of The Independent

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