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Silverton council backs Eureka zone change

The Silverton City Council is heading toward a decision that will mean more housing than previously planned for a property on Eureka Avenue just east of The Oregon Garden.

Developers already had received approval to build up to 42 units on the 5.15-acre property, which was zoned R-1 or single-family residential. During a public hearing at the council’s Dec. 4 meeting at the Silverton Community Center the council considered a Planning Commission recommendation to deny a zone change application from the developers that would have changed the zoning to R-5, or low-density residential, and allow for up to
51 units.

The council, however, chose to overturn the Planning Commission and directed staff to bring back findings and an ordinance backing the zone change to R-5 for consideration at a future meeting.

The land is owned by Garden Grove Development of Salem and being developed by Orreo, LLC, also of Salem.

A second public hearing was held on an annexation application from the Kaufman Masonry factory at 827 Railway Ave. The company, which was hoping to hook up to city water and sewer service, received the council’s approval of the request.

Councilors also discussed the final agreement between the city and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stemming from illegal discharges into Silver Creek. The city originally was fined $42,130 for the illegal discharges, but the fine was reduced to $35,660. The city was able to further reduce the fine to $7,132 by agreeing to spend $28,528 on a Pudding River Watershed bank cleaning and stabilizing project on Silver Creek between Coolidge McClaine Park and Salamander Island. That project is currently underway.

Silverton was advised by the DEQ in a Feb. 7, 2023 notice that it exceeded the permitted levels of ammonia 32 times and for total suspended solids 24 times between May 2021 and August 2022.

City officials agreed that the violations occurred but said that they involved errors by an employee who is no longer with the city. They also said that the city has altered water treatment plant procedures to make it less likely that further illegal discharges will occur and noted that no further violations have been discovered since August.

– James Day

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