marys-annex

Here is a view of some of the 118 acres that are proposed for a city annexation. The property north and east of the West Hills/53rd Street roundabout would be developed into housing and other uses if it is brought into the city's stock of land.

The Corvallis Planning Commission held a public hearing Wednesday night on a proposed annexation plan that might add more than 1,000 housing units to the city.

The Marys Annexation calls for adding 118 acres of land that is currently under Benton County jurisdiction to the city’s stock of land. The property owner, David Lin, also wants to rezone the property, with the bulk of the acreage being set aside for residential uses.

The land, currently used as a tree farm, is north and east of the roundabout at West Hills Road and 53rd Street.

Because of a request to hold the record open, commissioners did not deliberate Wednesday night. They might do so as early as their Dec. 6 meeting, although the schedule was not available as of presstime.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to review two other annexations Dec. 6, one involving the expansion plans of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in north Corvallis and the other on the Caldwell Farms property on the west side of West Hills, not far from the Marys Annexation property.

The Caldwell Farms proposal is similar to the Marys plan but smaller in scope. The application calls for annexing 16.45 acres and rezoning it for residential use. The property currently is used for grass seed farming.

If the Planning Commission recommends in favor of the Marys Annexation and the City Council agrees, the plan could go on the ballot as early as May.

In outlining their proposal, Lin’s representatives emphasized the city’s need for more land for housing and that the plan would include a new city park as well as protection for riparian corridors and wetlands.

Three residents spoke in favor of the plan, one offered neutral testimony and at least eight people either spoke or ceded their time to individuals who oppose the annexation (testimony was still ongoing at the Gazette-Times deadline).

Two of the residents who back the plan, Van Melick and Gary Smith, work in the real estate business, and they emphasized the challenge that the low amount of available land places poses for the industry as well as its influence on housing prices.

Opponents expressed concerns about transportation, particularly traffic on West Hills and Timian, which is the lone street that connects West Hills with Philomath Boulevard between 35th and 53rd. Opponents also sought clarity regarding just how much of the 118 acres would remain open space given that the rezoning proposal noted just 9.5 acres going to conservation/open space.

The applicants also included a “general land use plan” that showed the street infrastructure and a potential housing plan that includes more than 1,000 units, mostly apartments and townhomes. Opponents cited plans for 2,000 units that would add between 3,000 and 5,000 people to the city’s population.

The gap in those estimates could not be clarified at presstime.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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