A proposal to develop a 120-unit apartment complex above North Tongue Point on the eastern edge of Astoria landed city approval Thursday.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, but with a host of conditions, including two that delayed a vote earlier this month.
At the commission’s request, developers Stan and Cary Johnson agreed to enlarge park space in the middle of the development from just over 2,000 square feet to 5,000. They will also be required to plant trees along the streets.
With the Planning Commission’s approval in hand, Cary Johnson hopes work on the units could begin as early as next summer, but there are still a number of city and state permits they will need to secure, he said. Developers also need to bring utilities to the site.
The Johnsons are planning to develop 22 lots for multifamily units on acreage along Old U.S. Highway 30 near the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. The Eagle Point subdivision will start small, with a first phase of seven lots and a cul-de-sac off the highway.
The city will not be responsible for either the trees or the park — a concern planning commissioners had at the earlier meeting on the subdivision.
The city has struggled to maintain its parks and has been against the development of new parks if the city is expected to be responsible for maintenance.
A new Scandinavian Heritage Park at Peoples Park off Marine Drive downtown was only granted city approval after the group behind the project secured a memorandum of understanding taking on the responsibility for maintaining any new park features.
Planning commissioners were supportive of the Eagle Point subdivision. Even some of the commissioners who disagreed about whether to require the planting of street trees said they would vote with the majority rather than let the Johnsons’ application fail.
Astoria has not had many subdivisions, Planning Commissioner Jan Mitchell said, but could see more projects in the future. She was pleased the park space had been increased, but was adamant that street trees should also be required.
“Anything we do on a subdivision, at this point, sets a precedent for the next developer,” she said.
It is not an onerous condition, but rather one that is “important to increase the livability of the complex,” Planning Commissioner Joan Herman said.
Thursday was Herman’s last meeting before she moves on to take her seat on the City Council. She was elected to the downtown Ward 3 seat held by Cindy Price, who chose not to run for re-election.