The Corvallis City Council on Tuesday night approved an alignment for an extension of Northwest Kings Boulevard into the Timberhill region but also voted to require developers to resubmit their application for the project.
Councilors voted 7-1 to approve the route through the 200 acres of property north of the Kings-Walnut intersection. City rejections of the project have twice been “remanded” or returned to the city for further review by the state Land Use Board of Appeals. Councilors held a limited public hearing on the matter at its Feb. 6 meeting but did not deliberate until Tuesday because of requests to hold the record open.
New Councilor Mark Page, whose Ward 8 includes the property, was the lone no vote. Page wanted additional conditions placed on the project, although councilors advised him he could add wording to get those concerns addressed as amendments when the city brings back findings for formal approval.
Councilors then voted 8-0 to deny the developers’ application on the project, noting that the LUBA remand only required them to act on the limited issue of the route and that they could reject other aspects of the application.
The developers, GPA1, had argued that the city could approve both the alignment and the rest of the package, but councilors unanimously rejected that argument.
Dale Kern, a broker with Commercial Associates, which has been working with GPA1, said he preferred to reserve comment on the decision until a later date.
In another high-profile decision, councilors voted 6-2 to approve an ordinance that would place restrictions on tobacco retailers. The ordinance would prohibit new tobacco shops from locating within 1,000 feet of a school or 1,000 feet of another tobacco retailer.
Penny York (Ward 1), Hyatt Lytle (Ward 3), Barbara Bull (Ward 4), Charlyn Ellis (Ward 5), Nancy Wyse (Ward 6) and Hal Brauner (Ward 9) voted in favor of the new rules. Page and Bill Glassmire of Ward 7 voted no. Roen Hogg of Ward 2 was absent.
Those voting for the ordinance noted the potential public health benefits, particularly for young people.
“I recognize the impact on minorities and people in general,” said Page, while adding that it is up to him as a parent to make sure his children are educated about the dangers of tobacco use.
"But I have a problem with any entity not being able to sell a product. It’s overstepping.”
One retailer, Saleem Noorani, who owns the Cork & Bottle Shoppe on Northwest Circle Boulevard, testified in favor of the measure, but he noted that he plans to move his business to Ninth Street and expressed concerns that the ordinance might affect the relocation.
The answer, City Attorney Jim Brewer noted during deliberations, is that Noorani and other retailers can relocate as long as they are not within 1,000 feet of a school or another tobacco shop.
City Manager Mark Shepard, who spoke at the hearing, and Tom Nelson, the city’s economic development manager, whose comments were included in the staff report, both noted that the measure could hamstring businesses seeking to locate in town.
South Corvallis residents have for years been hoping for a grocery store in their neighborhood. Shepard noted that because two tobacco retailers already are in South Corvallis, only a grocery store that did not sell tobacco products would be able to meet the new code.
A total of 13 people testified, with only one person opposed. Most of those testifying emphasized the impact of tobacco on young people and minority communities as well as concerns at how tobacco companies target low-income residents with their advertising.
Carl Price, the lone resident who testified against the measure, said he thought it was badly written and that it might limit the selling of some promising drugs that target conditions such as AIDS, cancer and Zika because they contain tobacco extracts.