Albany City Hall 3

Albany City Hall

Ashley Smith Democrat-Herald

The Albany City Council on Wednesday evening voted 4-2 to deny a contentious zone change in North Albany.

This decision means Portland-based developer James Winkler will not be allowed to build a mixed-use commercial property along the 700 block of Hickory Street NW.

Winkler originally had plans for a 48-unit apartment complex on the two-and-a-quarter acres, which he will still be permitted to build, but when he proposed a zone change to allow mixed-use commercial, the locals came out against him.

The planning commission on April 3 denied the change, but Winkler appealed the ruling, speaking at the Aug. 9 council meeting, along with almost a dozen North Albany residents who opposed his appeal. The council that night landed 3-2 on the issue, with councilors Rich Kellum, Bill Coburn and Dick Olsen voting to uphold the denial. Since the vote didn't end in a tie, Mayor Sharon Konopa was not able to cast a deciding vote. 

With Winkler absent at the Wednesday meeting, and with no North Albany residents speaking, but with all councilors present, the council voted to deny the code change, with councilors Ray Kopczynski and Bessie Johnson voting in favor of the change.

The vote, however, is a tentative denial, as city staff must now legally publish revised findings and conclusions, which will reflect the code change denial. The council would then have to adopt the findings at the next council meeting.

Even with the denial, some North Albany residents have since January of last year resisted the proposed apartment project. Jay Hoffmeister and a collection of other homeowners who share a property line with the proposed development have cited concerns about privacy, increased traffic and property value.

Contact reporter Neil Zawicki at 541-812-6099 or neil.zawicki@lee.net

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