LUTC Minutes 2014-07-21

Eliot Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting minutes 7/21/14

Committee members present: Mike Warwick (chair), Phil Conti, Clint Lundmark, Mike Faden, Paul Van  Orden, Alise Munson, Laurie Simpson

Others present: Re development at 7th and NE Russell St — Dan Neal (developer) Paradigm Properties, Chris Looney (Paradigm), Paul Dustrud (architect), Renee Benoit (Dustrud), Steve Pfeiffer (lawyer, Perkins Coie)

About 20 local residents/neighbors: 10 from Eliot and 10 from Irvington

Item 1. 7th and Russell development

  • Paul Dustrud (architect)
    • Showing 2 concepts – both schematic (not fully developed)
    • Max height 75 feet, 4:1 FAR
    • Option 1 occupies more of lot; portion facing 7th is lower (35 feet)
    • Option 2 occupies less of lot, but taller across entire building – more open space at south of building
    • Possible total of 82 units
    • Possible parking of 41 spots under building. Goal is to provide more than 1 space per 2 units. Underground parking all the way out to property lines under the building
    • Probably mostly 1 BR and 2 BR apts. Market value. Perhaps 500 SF to 1200 SF units.
  • Questions/comments from committee:
    • Why build to this size when others nearby have built smaller buildings successfully; zone is an anomaly; what was sale price of land
  • Answers
    • (Dan Neal)
    • Paradigm wanted to do steel and concrete project, which is more expensive, plus providing parking is expensive
    • Sale price of land was well in excess of $1 million
    • Initially considered 5 floors over ground floor parking lot, wood frame structure, would be cars on ground. Would still be probably 65 ft high
    • (Paul Dustrud) architect
    • we are amenable to looking at more options for building and more styles; recognize neighborhood has older style; there may be another form that building could take
  • Mike Warwick, LUTC chair:
    • Input from neighborhood is that the building is too tall
    • Seek comments from committee – what are suggestions
    • Committee members comments/questions:
    • (Paul Van Orden) Questions
      • Would you enter into contractual agreement with neighborhood – concern from neighbors about building overlooking neighboring yards – e.g. can rooftop be set back;
      • Also how much do fantastic views play into fiscal equation
    • Answer (Neal) Economics force us to go tall; city staff encouraged us to use the density allowed in the code.
    • Answer (Dustrud) We were hoping to put roof deck at corner of 7th so not looking into someone’s back yard – this feedback is a good thing to hear
    • Neighbor comment – building will block sun for solar panels on neighboring houses
    • Answer (Dustrud) – that was one of reasons tried to shrink footprint — was to reduce shading of other buildings
    • Question (Paul Van Orden) : Will need commercial garbage collection and request you think carefully about location of garbage and request match to time window of residential collection
    • Answer Dustrud) – that is reasonable – we typically have trash chute and compactor so able to garbage trucks not as frequently
    • Comment from committee (Laurie)
      • We identified that this building destroys scale of neighborhood
      • Every other building has a connection to the street; but once a building becomes higher than 4-5 stories it becomes elevator of apts
      • A pushed-down building that takes more area is better than a tower; don’t think the planned open space will benefit the community
      • Concerns about future. Right now there is a hot need for rentals; these apts may not be able to be converted to condo, so when market dips will remain empty
    • Answer (Dustrud) – as long as there is parking underground, plan to have units on ground level. As long as building is lower, will lose open space.
    • Comment from committee (Phil Conti) Consider how relatee to the street so still feels like community. Put yourself in position would you live across the street. Balconies are good.
    • Comment from committee (Clint Lundmark). It is too high.
    • Comment from committee (Alise Munson). Oldest neighborhood in Portland
    • Comments from Eliot/Irvington neighbors:
      • I live 3 blocks away. 80 units represents more than 3 times the number of residents that are on my block. My concern becomes parking and traffic. Russell is already very congested. Don’t see a way to mitigate traffic increase.
        • Answer (Dustrud). Will have bike storage to mitigate some of car usage.
        • Usage is changing. Likely to see more on-street parking that doesn’t move
      • Will see more through traffic
      • As a homeowner, how are you adding to value of our homes.
        • Answer (Dustrud). Depending on what building ends up being, could enhance neighborhood.
      • Will you consider building something that is 45 feet tall and based on design of neighborhood. This is really is out of place.
        • Answer (Neal). Of course will consider. But very challenging. Will be amazed if there is a way to make work.
      • Bought house last year. Big building will block light.
      • Would you be willing to sell the property back to us?
      • Why not condo project.
        • Answer (Chris Looney). We looked at that but economics of market – would not absorb the units with current unsold inventory.
      • Oppose statement that wood frame lower quality. Could build something that fitted in better with neighborhood, and then build lower.
        • Answer (Neal). We are going to take another hard look at wood.
      • Transient people. Hope take that into consideration – make open space attractive but not so attractive that people will use it to hang out.
      • In comparison with rest of street this is irresponsible.
      • Comes off as carpetbagger. Develop to max. As high and broad as can go. What is legal is one thing. Ask yourself if doing the right thing.
      • Comment from committee (Mike Warwick). New Comp Plan will recognize need to protect character of neighborhoods. Finding there is already capacity to handle growth.
      • Comment from committee (Laurie Simpson) We are in favor of density but there are more appropriate lots for density.
      • Comment from committee (Mike Warwick). To sum up: Building is too high. What are developer’s next steps? We would like to hear what your thinking is.
      • Answer (Neal). We are having meeting Wed AM. Don’t know where going to go after that.
      • We hear that overarching emphasis is height. If better is lower and go to straight edge, shorter and fatter, maybe we can work with.
      • We are not going to compromise on quality of building.
      • Comment from Mike Warwick. Have you thought about a building lower at edges and higher in the middle.
      • Answer (Looney). We could consider anything.
      • Timeline (Neal) Had thought construction might start next spring.
      • Developer plans to demolish existing structure as soon as obtains permit.
  • Item 2. Williams/Rodney bikeway project
    • Rich Newlands, City of Portland.
      • Williams project went to bid. Have acceptable contractor. Construction planned to start early Sept; due to complete by November.
        • Bike lane on Williams will stay open during most of project
        • Now entering final phase of public involvement; another public event planned in August, safety education rollout at the same time.
      • Rodney bikeway
        • Recap/update
          • Crossings: Killingsworth, Fremont and Russell
            • Killingsworth will be curb extensions
            • Fremont as previously described
          • Diversion
            • Message from neighborhood: want it but willing to wait;
            • Diagonal diverter at Ivy is tool of choice
            • We are getting pressure from bike community to put in diverter
          • Stop signs
            • Can put in new N-S stop signs at Tillamook, Morris and Going
            • This would provide 3 blocks between each stop sign
            • One of options is to put speed bumps down at the time of Williams project
          • Feedback/requests from Committee
            • implement speed bumps, do not change stop signs at this point, wait on diverter
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