Council Makes Key Land Use Decision (But Waits on Others)

In front of a packed crowd at the LaSell’s Stewart Center on Oregon State University’s campus, Corvallis City Councilors made moves on three important land use decisions, as well as deciding to nix sending each individual land use matter to voters. 

More than 100 residents sat in on the council meeting last Monday, many sporting “Defend Your Charter” stickers. More than a dozen residents gave public comment, mostly pleading with the council to follow the City Charter and put land use on public ballot measures, in spite of the recent Oregon’s legislature passing SB 1573, which has directed cities to do the contrary. Conversely, nearly a third of residents told councilors to make it easier for developers to acquire land due to the current housing shortage.

Three Sites, Three Different Decisions
The first land use decision up for debate was for an expansion of the North Campus of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. Councilor Hogg requested a motion to delay the decision, but that was rejected, and the full Council voted unanimously to approve the 17-acre proposal.

Next up was Caldwell Farms, which is a plan to put more than 90 units of housing with an assisted living center on 16 acres to the west of West Hills Road. The council voted 7-1 to accept documents into record and 8-0 to make a final decision at the next council meeting on February 20.

The last and largest land use request, a proposal to build more than 1,000 units – and possibly up to 2,000 units – the site is 118 acres located northeast of the West Hills and 53rd Street roundabout. New documents were admitted into the record on a 5-3 vote, but a 6-2 vote denied the application pending further investigation. David Lin, owner of the St. Mary’s property, would first need to work with city staff on an agreement before it can go up for vote again.  

The night ended with council members voting 7-1 to stop sending certain land use proposals to voters with Hal Brauner of Ward 9 being the lone ‘no’ vote. Despite this, the City of Corvallis is currently appealing the state regarding SB 1573 and its decision on “home rule.” Council also voted 8-0 to have further discussion on the topic in 90 days.

By Chris McDowell