Another round: Silverton council tweaks transitional housing code changes

September 2018 Posted in Community

By Paula Mabry
Silverton’s third city council round of public testimony on the proposed code changes to permit transitional housing closed at 7:54 p.m. Sept. 10.
Then it was the councilors’ turn to waded into the discussion.
And while it was clear that the mayor and councilors were in favor of permitting some sort of shelter for area residents without roof or address, the proposal’s who and how and when would all be tweaked before the meeting adjourned at midnight.
Ultimately, several amendments were made to the planning commission’s recommendations. So many, in fact, that the city attorney advised the council to send the matter back to staff for formal revision before a vote to change the code.
The council agreed. The issue will return to the agenda Oct. 1.
Mayor Kyle Palmer repeatedly stressed the need to be sensitive to those worried about – or objecting to – changes to permit transitional housing. He urged the council build in “an assurance that – in a public way – we will be back here” reviewing the matter in a year.
Sunsetting the changes was briefly considered, but finally mandating council review of the code 18 months after the opening of the first facility won 5-2 support, with Councilors Matt Plummer and Laurie Carter dissenting.
The mandated council review does not preclude nor replace the Conditional Use process applicants must go through at six month and one year junctures.
Other changes to the proposal include:
• Limiting potential transitional housing sites to property currently occupied by religious institutions.
• Reducing the maximum number of units at a facility from 10 to 4.
If the project proves successful “we can up the density later, but that’s a tough one to come back from” if 10 are approved, Councilor Plummer said.
• Limiting occupancy to a single person.
The council heard “a lot of passionate pleas on both sides. It’s our responsibility not to ignore that level of concern,” Council Dana Smith said.
In other development news
The Silverton Council directed staff to ask contractors bidding on the deconstruction and demolition of the former Eugene Field School to submit cost estimates for salvaging items for re-purposing. Items cited included the gym floor, roof timbers and specific lighting fixtures. Bidders were to tour the building Sept. 13. The Mt. Angel Planning Commission has approved the Wachter Meadows subdivision plan, with home construction likely to begin by late next year or early 2020. Commissioners added staff-recommended minor adjustments to the conditions of approval before OKing the application, said City Manager Amber Mathiesen.
The Stafford Land Company is planning to build 63 homes on 20 acres of land between West Marquam Street and West Church Street.
Mathiesen said next steps will be for the applicant to submit their engineering plans for the public improvements (water, sewer, storm, and streets) the project will require.
Wachter Meadows will be one of the largest developments in Mt. Angel in recent years, according to  Mathiesen. The Maryhill Park project, approved in 2005, includes a total of 99 units, with the final phase still in progress. The Grandview 55-and-over community, which features 56 units, was approved in 2015 and remains under construction.
— Jame Day contributed to this report

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