Smith requested splitting one lot on Schoolhouse Lane into 3 parcels – one of them twice the size of the others. With Shady Cove’s long history of “serial partitioning” as a back door to sub divisions the Planning Commission as well as City Planner Dick Converse and Public Works Director George Bostic saw the proverbial writing on the wall. To clarify: serial partitioning is legal in the state of Oregon, but it can adversely affect the development of a city. Different sets of requirements apply to non-sub division and sub division partitions; mostly in the areas of street and sewer improvements. Serial partitioning is when you divide a lot into less than 4 parcels, then after one year (per OR law) you re-partition and a sub division is born. Smith advised he is considering further partitioning of the larger parcel sometime in the future.
Based on the configuration of partitions Smith was proposing Converse and Bostic were able to require some street and sewer improvements in their conditions of approval – there’s a lot of engineering and tech speak involved – but the core of the issue is street access to the properties combined with the type and number of houses that could be built on each parcel. If a parcel is accessed from a “collector” street, improvements need to be made to the street even if the land is not technically a sub-division.
Naturally water also figured into the night’s discussion as up to six dwellings (i.e. 3 duplexes) could be built on the 3 requested parcels. Initially a draw down test was placed as a condition, but that is up in the air as is the entire application. After lots of discussion Smith ended up requesting a 120 day extension on the application to get back to that literal drawing board. Likely the lot will need to be partitioned in an entirely different format due to road access, drainage and frontage issues. Additionally whether or not a well draw down test is feasible as a condition will be researched. These tests are pricey and inconvenient (folks can’t use their wells for 48 hours during the test) but they are the only known way to possibly determine whether or not new wells will adversely affect existing ones. Smith will be back before the Planning Commission on Oct. 14 with either all his new information or at least an update on his progress.
In other Planning Commission news; a special meeting during the afternoon of the 9th to discuss the drafting of a new city ordinance for lighting standards. Pulling from several sample ordinances from other Oregon cities the commission directed Administrator Joe Riker to create a draft ordinance with an emphasis on night sky, public safety, energy conservation and light trespass. The goal is to be fair to the citizens while implementing necessary change. The draft should be reviewed at the next Planning Commission meeting and there will be a public hearing regarding the proposed ordinance before any formal vote.
So whether it’s “hit the lights” or “back to the drawing board” there’s plenty of issues to come for the Planning Commission in future months as they work toward a more aesthetic, eco friendly and less rutted road in Shady Cove.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent