Residents opposed to the Corvallis City Council decision to approve the Carson apartments proposal have announced plans to appeal the decision.
Resident Patricia Brenton and a group called Carson Property LUBA Appeal have filed an appeal notice with the state and city. The opponents are being represented by Salem attorney Wallace Lien.
Because the documents, filed Monday, only cover the intent to appeal, no grounds or basis for the appeal were contained in the documents (see the website for the full text).
Lien could not be reached for comment. Corvallis City Attorney Jim Brewer said “the council will likely discuss how it would like to proceed at its meeting on Monday.”
The notice of intent to appeal starts the clock on a series of 21-day deadlines for the record to be gathered and the two sides to file briefs and rebuttals on the case. Ultimately, the process will lead to oral arguments before the three-member board in Salem. Such a session likely is months away.
The City Council on Aug. 19 voted final approval of Carson on a 4-3 vote on a second reading of a proposal that rezones the property and allows developers to move forward with a plan for an apartment complex on the 6-acre parcel at the corner of Southwest Country Club Drive and 53rd Street. The builders needed council approval to boost the zoning from RS-6 to RS-20, or high-density residential.
The council originally voted 4-3 to deny the plan at its June 17 meeting. But when formal findings came up July 15, with a different cast of councilors on hand, led by Ward 6's Nancy Wyse, Mayor Biff Traber broke a 3-3 tie by casting a yes vote. New formal findings were crafted for the Aug. 5 session. But because the vote was not unanimous a second reading was required Aug. 19.
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At the second reading Ward 8 councilor Ed Junkins, who had voted with those rejecting the Carson plan June 17, switched sides and voted to approve, noting that in the intervening two months further deliberations on the city’s housing issues had convinced him to back the Carson plan. Traber, who only votes to break ties, did not participate in the second reading vote.
Earlier, the Corvallis Planning Commission recommended in favor of the proposal on a 3-2 vote on May 1.
The Carson proposal ran into strong public opposition at public hearings held by both the Planning Commission and the City Council. Seven residents spoke against the proposal before the planning body, with 12 doing so at the June 3 council public hearing.
Key concerns of those opposing the application at both sessions were traffic, environmental and wetlands impacts, the compatibility of multistory high-density housing on property which is adjoined on the south and west by agricultural land and whether the city needs more property zoned RS-20 (allowing a minimum of 20 units per acre) in its stock of land.
The property occupies 6.31 acres, but the developers only want to increase the zoning on 6.09 acres of it. The other acreage would remain zoned for single-family use.
The proposal, if approved, likely would lead to more than 100 units of housing and perhaps as many as 200 parking spaces, although no development plans were required — or being considered — as part of the zone change application.
Although numerous residents and councilors raised concerns about wetlands issues, the developers, led by owner Jeff Reams, testified that they already have acquired the necessary permits from state and federal authorities and have pledged to pay for the preservation of twice the amount of wetlands that will be affected by the development.