Code conundrum: Silverton contemplates changes to help local homeless

July 2018 Posted in Community

By Paula Mabry

Planning code changes that would make limited, tiny-unit transitional housing for the homeless possible on church property in Silverton will have their fourth public hearing Aug. 6.

The Silverton Planning Commission held two hearings prior to sending its recommendation for approval to the council. After an hour of public testimony July 2 the council added the topic to its August agenda to allow more time for public input.

While no homeless housing plan has been submitted to the city for review, representatives of St. Edward’s Episcopal Church on Center Street and the newly formed Silverton Sheltering Services have advocated for four, single occupant, tiny units for homeless women from the Silverton area.

The proposed code changes would make transitional housing a conditional use, limiting the size, use, length of stay and number of structures, set regulations for their management, require code of conduct agreements, and set other standards for city approval.   

The text of the proposed code along with staff reports and public testimony submitted in writing can be found at: www.silverton.or.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_07022018-41. The report starts on page 56.

At the July hearing citizens testified both in support and against the changes.

Those in support cited both the local need and the successful experiences of other communities.

Opponents suggested the need for more public review, with some proposing taking the code change to the voters.

Mayor Kyle Palmer urged both sides to participate in a “respectful” dialog and invited both submission of written testimony and in-person participation at the next hearing.

The council’s Monday, Aug. 6 meeting will be held at the Silverton Community Center, 421 S. Water St., beginning at 7 p.m. An agenda will be available on the city website, or at City Hall. The meeting can also be viewed live on SCAN TV.

In other development news:

–The Silverton Planning Commission on Tuesday rejected the revised plan for a 40-lot subdivision along North James Street. Traffic concerns on the surrounding streets led to the 3-2 vote to deny the application. An earlier plan to build on the 9.5-acre site was approved by the Planning Commission but rejected by the City Council last December. The developer has the option to appeal the latest decision to the City Council.

–The Silverton Planning Commission also on Tuesday approved a proposal to annex property at 555 Eureka Avenue and OK’d conditional use permits for two day-care facilities, one at 222 High Street and one at 211 West Center St.

–Work is underway on the new Portland General Electric substation at C Street and James. The company is building a temporary substation on a vacant lot while it upgrades the permanent facility on an adjacent lot. The process is scheduled to take six to eight months.

–The Mt. Angel Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday (note this refers to July 19) in the Mt. Angel Community Room, 290 East Charles Street. Commissioners will act on a plan to subdivide a 20-acre parcel into 63 single-family residential lots. The Wachter Meadows property is north of West Church Street and south of West Marquam Street.

— James Day contributed to this report.

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