JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
EUGENE CITY COUNCIL
Harris Hall Main Floor
a. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1180/In the Matter of Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan Diagram to Apply the ND-Nodal Development Designation to Property Within the Chase Gardens Nodal Development Area; Amending The Text of Section 13 of the Willakenzie Area Plan to Replace Pages 71-74; Amending the Willakenzie Area Plan Land Use Map; and Adopting a Severability Clause. (NBA & PM 8/28/02)
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer was present via telephone. Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer was also present.
Mayor Jim Torrey presided with City Councilors Bonny Bettman, Pat Farr, David Kelly, Scott Meisner, Nancy Nathanson, Gary Pape, and Betty Taylor. Gary Rayor was excused. Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer was also present.
Mayor Torrey opened up the Public Hearing for the City of Eugene.
Commissioner Dwyer opened up the Public Hearing for the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
Kurt Yeiter, City of Eugene, explained tonight was the final scheduled public hearing on actions proposed to implement the nodal development plan in the Chase Gardens area. He stated it was being processed as a quasi-judicial matter and decisions are made by applying evidence against specific criteria.
Dwyer asked for any ex-parte contacts or conflicts of interest.
There were none from the Board of Commissioners.
Torrey asked for any ex-parte contacts or conflicts of interests from the City Councilors.
Torrey noted approximately a year ago, a representative of a development firm from Portland came to talk to him about their plans. He stated they did not specifically speak about nodal development.
Kelly recalled when the process first started he met with members of the Harlow Neighborhood because they were in his ward. He added all other contacts had been in the context of public neighborhood meetings.
Yeiter said the project backgrounds and the applicable substantive criteria were compiled in a memorandum dated August 12, 2002 and titled: “Implementing Measures for Chase Gardens Nodal Development Area.” He noted the applicable criteria upon which the decisions will be based are contained on pages 3, 4 and 5 of the memo. He stated that testimony, arguments and evidence must be directed toward the criteria described in the memo or other criteria in the plan or land use regulations that the person testifying believes to apply to the decision. He added failure to raise an issue or accompanied by statements or evidence sufficient to afford the decision makers and the parties an opportunity to respond to the issue precludes appeal to the board and the decision makers based on that issue.
Yeiter noted the August 12 memo also listed the five actions proposed to make the whole nodal development strategies come together and they were combined into three ordinances. He noted the first ordinance amends the Eugene/Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan diagram and the Willakenzie Area Plan text and diagram. He stated both the Eugene City Council and the Board of Commissioners would vote on ordinance number one. He noted the first staff packet that went to the Board of Commissioners contained an error in the Willakenzie area plan text. He added a subsequent memo with corrected text was passed out. He noted there are 11 policies in what is proposed for approval.
Yeiter stated the second ordinance amends several sections of the Eugene Code, clarifying how the special areas zoned could be used for nodal development and to allow better lighting in city parks. He noted only the City of Eugene City Council would act upon the second ordinance.
Yeiter said the third ordinance establishes the Chase node special area zone and creates the zoning standards for development in that zone and applies the special area zone to several city, EWEB and underdeveloped properties within the nodes that are already within the city limits. He added they were not proposing to change the zone on any unincorporated properties. He noted the third ordinance would take city action only. Yeiter announced a Eugene City Council work session had been scheduled for October 28 and they have scheduled November 12 for possible action. He noted a possible third reading by the Lane County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for December 4.
Yeiter explained there were several letters received subsequent to the work sessions. He stated there is a packet with a letter from Gordon Wylie, who owns property along Garden Way, a letter from Terry White who has commercially designated property in the area and a letter from Louise Wade, who is a Cubby Lane resident. He added there is a staff memorandum answering questions that came up during a work session. He also received a letter from Satre Associates. He noted he received a letter from Ward Beck, from Duncan & Brown, Phil Grillo, Miller Nash, and a master plan that was prepared by Simpson Housing.
Brandon Morgan, 1226 16th Avenue, Seattle, WA, Development Manager for Simpson Housing. He represented Simpson Housing who is the owner of the largest parcel that is part of the nodal plan. He said in Eugene they are the owners of the Chase Village Apartment complex. He said there are 536 apartments plus 20 acres of vacant land. He added the vacant land is the largest part of the node. He recalled they bought the property in 1997. He stated they realized the highest and best use of the vacant property was to develop a neighborhood retail center, something they thought would add value to the neighborhood. He said they had been cooperating with the city on the nodal plan. He said that Simpson Housing was committed to seeing the nodal plan through to fruition to make sure the city, neighborhood and future developers of the property will be proud of what is achieved.
Rick Duncan, Duncan & Brown, 1260 Charnelton, reported that under the current proposed plan, there could be as much as 200,000 square feet of commercial space built. He noted this plan was three times the size of Oasis Plaza and Edgewood Shopping Center. He received information on second floor space from the Oakway Shopping Center. He was told that the leases are 40 to 50% less than what they get for main floor space. He noted there are substantial problems with vacancies on the second floor.
Don Raichle, 3131 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, stated he had been working with Simpson Housing for the past two years. He noted the two-story issue is a critical one. He said as it stands now, this is a large project and the square footage is pushing what is available in the market and what the neighborhood wants to see. He stated if the square footage is kept to put into two stories, they lose the continuous street frontage. He added to go to a second story would drive down the quality of the architecture and attract less desirable tenants in the buildings. He thinks the solution is to have a tall façade in order to feel like it is a critical mass. He noted another issue was the orientation of the building entries. He said the goal is to have the most active pedestrian oriented continuous retail area possible. He said to have all the entries facing the adjacent streets is not the best way to achieve that.
Terri Harding, Satre Associations 132 E. Broadway, Eugene, explained her firm was the lead consultant for the nodal development study at Chase Gardens and as the project moves forward, she was happy they were close to implementation. She noted as the code is written, it would require a building orientation to the street, but a separate pedestrian entrance to every street. She stated the LUCU requirement for building entries is one per building, not one per business. She noted a common problem with nodal development standards is when two entrances are required for small businesses.
Rick Satre, 132 E. Broadway, stated the proposed set of ordinances represents what staff believes is the best set of recommendations to achieve Eugene’s nodal development objectives in the Chase Gardens area. He noted the property owners they represent are in complete agreement with the entire set of recommended changes except that the market place is not there for a second floor. His proposal is a single floor retail establishment that has a two-story façade. He said it works. He added should the market ever catch up where second floors could be added, then they could put in a second floor. He said they have an opportunity for the community to see the concept of nodal development take place in physical form.
Terry White, 346 S. Garden, represented the Harlow Neighbor group. He said they were suggesting an ATM machine be installed in the shopping center.
Kevin Matthews, Friends of Eugene, P. O. Box 1588, Eugene, said it was good to see nodal development was moving forward. He explained nodal development is an important part of TransPlan. He said the Chase Gardens node was a positive one because it is well located where the geography of the node supports lower than average driving. He said that improves the driving average of the whole metropolitan area. He stated there was restricted access with this node. He said the natural resource component needed to be strengthened. He noted in Exhibit B, item 10, development shall be sensitive to the area’s natural features such as mature trees, orchards and the Q Street channel. He stated there was a beneficial move toward clear and objective standards for development. He said this had to achieve a certain density and if there is too much of a commercial footprint for the market, then the commercial footprint should be decreased. He said that a two-story façade is not two levels of activity that is needed for nodal development.
Verna Thompson 110 S. Garden, Eugene stated she wanted the Chase Garden area cleaned of garbage. She recommended that Eugene be a good neighbor and clean the garbage. She stated she lives in one of the historical Chase homes and she wanted that to be considered in the development.
Jerry Thompson, didn’t think there was an owner on Garden Way who thought they were benefiting from this and they don’t want to pay for any of it. He thought the best use of the area was a baseball park.
Ward Beck, 2502 Highland Dr., Eugene, was against the ordinances. He read into the record a letter from Judge Gordon Wylie. He thought the city staff was trying to steal the value of Judge Wylie’s land. He stated that no one from the city spoke with Judge Wylie. He said the land should remain commercial and have a minimum of four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. He said they wanted to see a nodal overlay on Judge Wylie’s land but leaving the underlying zoning unchanged. He added that Judge Wylie didn’t want his land down zoned.
Nathanson asked what the difference was between commercial and high density.
Yeiter responded that typically commercial land is more valuable and developable than residential. He said the current Willakenzie plan shows all commercial being on the east side, between future Garden Way and I-5. He said they wanted to make sure that residents had easy access to the services. He said there is a combination of the limited access to the Wylie property for customer use from the freeway and higher density residences. In comparing that to limited commercial opportunities with higher density residential, it would have higher value.
Nathanson asked if the team developing the plan took into consideration the natural boundaries.
Yeiter said this neighborhood and the greater region is underserved by retail and commercial services. He explained their approach was to try to maintain a similar level of commercial. He noted that was slightly more than ten acres of the Wylie property, east of Garden Way but nine acres are now proposed west of Garden Way instead.
Nathanson asked what the intent of the node was regarding transportation.
Yeiter responded the least they wanted to achieve was that the residents are within walking and easy biking distance. He said they are also trying to achieve having an identifiable neighborhood center that would be a pleasurable place to be. He noted the way the Willakenzie area plan was originally set up, the entire commercial was on one side of a street. He said they investigated creating new local streets through the Wylie property and concluded there were not enough residents in the immediate area to support grocery or retail services east of Garden Way. He added being visible from Garden Way and Centennial was necessary.
Dwyer said his vision of a node is a place where people could live and work without an automobile. He didn’t want a node to be another name for a shopping development. He said the key was mixed use. He stated that part of the I-5 Beltline plan will be a bicycle pedestrian crossing that will go to Postal Way. He said if they are going to prevent sprawl, then they have to encourage upward development and not just put up facades.
Bettman said the whole intention of nodal development was to decrease vehicle miles traveled and to increase the efficiency of accommodating population growth that is projected to double in the Willamette Valley over the next 50 years. She didn’t understand why they were letting the developers write the standards for the node. She asked why they increased the intensity, and deducted amenities in an auto oriented development in response to this particular developer’s demand. She said if they would just create what they need for nodal development in an overlay zone and apply it, then as pressure to develop increases over the years, it would be redeveloped according to those standards. She noted that TransPlan did modeling based on nodal development. She said they examined how nodal development would result in decreased trip length and decreased vehicles miles traveled both within the node and outside the node and how the node was affected by the larger transportation system. She wanted to see a comparison where the code amendments and the metro plan amendments diverge from that threshold. She said if they are going to modify nodal development to this extent, they would achieve the objectives of TransPlan. She stated an analysis and comparison is needed to be made on what suggested code amendments are required.
Taylor said it sounded like they were in the development business and the purpose was to develop the land as quickly as possible instead of providing for the creation of a node. She asked why they would need so much commercial building if it were part of a node.
Yeiter said what became apparent when they involved the neighborhood was that there was frustration from area residents that there were not full retail services to serve the area. He said the area is segregated and the residents were tired of driving to other shopping centers to get more services. He said the acreage for all commercial services is kept the same as planned within the Willakenzie area plan. He noted one of their goals was that the residential development potential did not drop and that they were not losing housing yield. He stated the recommendation forwarded to the elected officials is that they have two functional floors along Garden Way and the stores facing Marche Chase and Garden Way have their entrances on them. He noted that was not what the developers wanted. He said there is a demand for commercial services in the area so they allowed for the shopping center to be as large as proposed with a cap on the size of the grocery story and having some of the buildings mandated where they are oriented so there is the pedestrian space.
Yeiter said with regard to the vehicle miles traveled and the TransPlan modeling, the TransPlan model was not created to be so specific that the square footage would have affected it. He noted there was a request from the state that the city create some monitoring process to track how well the nodal strategies are working for vehicle miles traveled for reduction. He noted the city engineers are satisfied with the streets and the improvements and how the pedestrian movements would happen within the area. He stated they didn’t have the data to show how this plan might be different.
Kelly stated he would support the plan as written as a compromise to get them to a real nodal project. He said unless they had a fair amount of density of jobs, they won’t hit the targets and use the land efficiently and the whole plan falls apart. He asked to explain how the node would make progress to the targets, both as proposed and as the developer is asking for further changes. He asked what the program was that described some sort of maximum square footage for the future. He wanted answers at the next work session
Pape stated that every node would have its own character and this was a suburban node. He was interested in any type of samples that staff could come up with for a work session on how two-story retail works in more suburban type locations versus out of town locations. He added not only do they need the housing density, but also they need the jobs
With regard to the Work Session on October 28, Torrey asked how the Harlow Neighborhood request would happen with regard to the ATM banking access question. He asked about the ineffective down zoning of the property east of Garden Way. It was his understanding that a down zone could create a taking and they might be liable for value lost. He wanted someone to do an analysis of that with a report back.
Bettman asked about TransPlan and what assumptions went into the modeling that showed nodal development reduces vehicle miles traveled and creates a more efficient transportation pattern. She asked what the node specific assumptions were. She thinks they are using TransPlan to justify all of the investments they are making in the planning and implementation process. She noted there are incentives and they are redirecting public infrastructure investment into the area because it is a node and they are going to see a public benefit. She wanted to reconcile this plan with TransPlan. She wanted to know the assumptions and how this plan compares with them.
Nathanson had three questions for the work session. With regard to two stories, please describe the value of a tall façade that is for appearance only versus the value of height for functional purpose. Tell them whether there is some other way to handle multiple entrances and pedestrian access from the street, if there was another alternative and describe as best they can market reality. She stated this neighborhood was different than a generic neighborhood anywhere else in Eugene. She asked to what extent this factors into any of the testimony they are getting. She asked if market reality was generic or adjusted for this neighborhood.
Meisner noted the node they were discussing regarding amendments is small in area but is surrounded by high-density developments. He wanted to make sure the commercial development is available to those people. He said he understands wanting contiguous commercial development and at the same time wanting second story development. He asked (in planning) if they looked at the relationship of second story retail or other space to the acreage that is provided for commercial zoning. He asked if so much land was designated for commercial that would preclude second story development. He wanted the response in the work session.
Childs noted since this was a quasi-judicial hearing, the property owner’s representatives have requested that in the event the city council recommends substantial changes to the ordinance that they reopen the record to allow them to comment on those changes before final adoption of the ordinance. She announced they had received that request.
Mayor Torrey closed the public hearing for the Eugene City Council and they will take the issue up on October 28, 2002 in a work session with possible decision making at that time. He added it would take place at 5:30 p.m. in the McNutt Room.
Commissioner Dwyer closed the public hearing for the Board of Commissioners.
MOTION: to approve a Second Reading and setting a Third Reading and Deliberation on Wednesday, December 4, 2002 for Ordinance 1180.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
b. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1181/In the Matter of Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan Diagram to Apply the ND-Nodal Development Designation to Property Within the Royal Avenue Nodal Development Area; and Adopting a Severability Clause.