|Volume 9, Issue 12||
Beaverton planners approve zoning changes to Peterkort properties
When the Peterkort family corporation requested to annex its land around the intersection of Cedar Hills Bl and Barnes into Beaverton last February (http://www.cedarmill.org/news/211/Peterkort-annexation.html), few were surprised. Despite their previous objections to Beaverton’s annexation push in the late ‘90s, they perceived that the city would be more friendly to their development plans.
On December 7, the Beaverton Planning Commission voted 7-0 to apply newly-created Beaverton zoning designations to the annexed properties. Many saw this as simply a “housekeeping” action. It will undoubtedly make development of the station area and surrounding properties easier for the corporation.
However, there are many county and city residents who are dismayed by the move. They see it as a slap in the face to all those who worked so long and hard to come up with guidelines for the development of this area during the process to update the county’s Cedar Hills/Cedar Mill Community Plan in the mid ‘90s.
“The plan was a product of more than 15 open houses/design workshops with the community,” reads a letter sent to Beaverton by the county on November 23 (Exhibit 19.2 on Beaverton’s Development Project page (apps.beavertonoregon.gov/DevelopmentProjects/full_list.aspx). “Formal adoption of the plan only occurred after six Planning Commission hearings and ten County Board of Commissioner Hearings. Because of the competitive transit and location advantage of the Sunset Transit Station, we believe the level of effort that went into planning this site and surrounding area reflects the belief that it provided the best opportunity in all of Washington County to create a dense, vibrant mixed-use urban development.”
Concerns about changes from the original plan that were brought up in the letter include: locating the most-dense development close to the station; limiting retail development to areas south of Barnes Road to manage traffic congestion; employing urban design principles including park/civic space in the plans; and managing the phasing-in of housing in the mix of commercial-retail-housing developments.
It is thought that the new Beaverton zoning that will be applied does not adequately conform to county standards, as required by the Urban Planning Area Agreement (UPAA) between Washington County and the City of Beaverton, which requires that the City: “...convert county Plan and Zoning designations to city Plan and Zoning designations which most closely approximate the density, use provisions and standards of the county designations.”
Indeed, one of the aspects of the city’s zoning that received the most discussion at the meeting was the “80% provision,” which allows up to 80% of the commercial/retail development to occur before any residential development needs to be built. Beaverton’s normal trigger is 60% and a few on the commission questioned the higher percentage.
Beaverton’s standards might allow for nearly 8.8 million square feet of non-residential development on approximately 65 acres of the Peterkort lands. Observers contend that the local transportation system will be thrashed long before hitting a small percentage of that.
There was a very short window of time between the publication of the Beaverton Planning documents on November 30 and this hearing. Several hundred pages of documents and exhibits were posted. Although CPO 1 submitted a letter requesting an extension, the Beaverton Planning Commission reportedly dismissed objections to the lack of public involvement, saying that the time for public involvement will come later, when development plans are submitted. Many feel that the new Beaverton zoning rules will make it difficult to achieve the mix of residential, commercial and retail space that would create a vibrant community without negative impacts on the surrounding properties.
These zoning changes will now go to the Beaverton City Council with the Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval. We will let you know when that meeting is scheduled.
Since publication, Beaverton's Community and Economic Development Department has responded to area residents' concerns by publishing a “Frequently Asked Quesions” about Peterkort Area Planning.
A group of citizens is exploring the possibility of filing an appeal to the Beaverton City Council regarding the recent approval by the Beaverton Planning Commission of a set of changes to the zoning of the Peterkort family properties at the Sunset Transit Center and around the intersection of Cedar Hills Bl. and Barnes Rd.
When fully built-out, this development could end up being at least twice as large as Washington Square. It concerns many people that the approval process to bring this about has been poorly publicized and may have violated some state land use provisions, and that it ignores regional directives for the area. Others see it as inevitable and not worth arguing about.
At least one and possibly more of the top folks in Beaverton's planning structure will attend the January CPO 1 meeting, on Tuesday, January 3. They have prepared a "Frequently Asked Questions" document to address some citizen concerns. It's available above.
Plan to attend the CPO 1 meeting, 7 pm at St. Vincent's Medical Center Souther Auditorium (near the "fountain" entrance at the east end of the campus)
If you would like to find out more about the appeal, contact Jake Mintz at: (503) 260-2606 / email@example.com
The appeal group is planning to meet on Monday, December 26, 7 pm at the Leedy Grange Hall, 835 NW Saltzman Rd., Portland, OR 97229
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