The big decision for the Campus Crest project finally came in tonight, and a healthy crowd of those for and opposed to the development showed up to learn the outcome. The Corvallis City Council met to deliberate and vote on conditions of approval and developmental concerns included in the planned development and subdivision components of the proposal. After a long two hour meeting between council members and the City Planning Commission, which saw a few condition amendments presented, the council voted 6 to 3 in favor of approving the project.
City council members Penny York of Ward 1, Bruce Sorte of Ward 7 and Roen Hogg of Ward 2 voted against the development that will provide 296 apartment units for up to 900 Oregon State students in a city where the vacancy rate is at currently low 3.7%. Sorte was the most prominent voice among this group; his biggest concern was the potential for increased traffic cutting through nearby neighborhoods. Another concern mentioned more than once, was a fear that the current 70 acres dedicated to open space could be rezoned in the future.
Ward 5 councilor Mike Beilstein spoke at length about the positive aspects of the projects, for instance, saying that the Campus Crest plan will help address the housing shortage in Corvallis. His statements at one point were met with laughter from one man in the crowd, who was quickly asked to come to order by Mayor Manning.
This has been a long process for everyone involved and one can see why approval prevailed. Most experts agree that the current vacancy rate in the city is too tight; if the proposed units were on the market today that rate would increase to a healthy 5.8% and the location is easily walkable and bikeable to campus. That said, it is difficult to know just when these units will become available as appeals can be filed now at the state level.
By Patrick Fancher