A developer has appealed a decision to deny a proposed 48-unit apartment complex in Miles Crossing to the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners.
Richard Krueger filed the appeal with the county, claiming the Clatsop County Planning Commission’s denial in July was based on a formality and not on actual requirements.
The Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed Wednesday to hear the appeal and take a fresh look at the proposal. Supporters of the Bella Ridge Apartments see the project as a much-needed source of affordable and workforce housing.
A hearing is scheduled Sept. 14 during the board’s next regular meeting .
In his appeal, Krueger asked county commissioners to only review the sole issue of contention, which was a question about sewer capacity in the region. Krueger wants to build the Bella Ridge Apartments on 10.4 acres between Lewis and Clark Elementary School and the Lewis and Clark Golf & RV Resort.
County staff, however, recommended the board revisit the entire project.
Commissioners agreed to hear all the evidence, and not limit what can be discussed during public comment.
“I think it’s important that we allow the public to say what they want to say,” Commissioner Sarah Nebeker said.
Neighbors against the project have been outspoken with concerns ranging from traffic impacts to whether the area has enough water and sewer capacity long term for the development.
A condition of approval was for Krueger to show proof of adequate water and sewer connections.
The Planning Commission acknowledged the property has access to water and sewer but still denied the project based on a letter from the Miles Crossing Sanitary Sewer District Board retracting their approval. The sewer board sent a previous letter of support, but it was sent without following formal procedure.
Denying a project based on a sewer board’s mistake does not follow the law, David Noren, Krueger’s lawyer, said.
“The test is not whether a specific project has received ‘approval’ or has a contract to receive services,” Noren wrote in the appeal. “The test, for purposes of a zone change, is whether there are public facilities appropriate to the zone.”
Krueger and his lawyer are expected to present evidence showing water and sewer capacity is available.
Krueger lowered the proposed development from 168 units to 48 units to accommodate concerns. The location is the site of a proposed 36-lot subdivision for single-family homes approved last year by the Planning Commission. Krueger wants to rezone the property for multifamily use, which the Planning Commission denied.