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More than 50 people turned out at Samaritan Square in February for a neighborhood meeting on expansion plans for Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. The city is considering requiring such meetings, although the Corvallis Planning Commission voted to recommend against it at a special meeting Wednesday night.

The Corvallis Planning Commission held a special meeting Wednesday night at which commissioners decided that, at least for now, fewer meetings might be better than more.

On the table was a possible land development code text amendment that would require neighborhood meetings before a developer can file certain land-use an applications with the city. The commission, as well as CIDAB, the Community Involvement and Diversity Advisory Board, has been charged with making a recommendation to the City Council on the code language.

The commission ultimately voted 6-1 against the idea at the end of a surreal and confusing hour at the downtown fire station in which two commissioners voted against their own motions and one asked what CIDAB was.

One community member, Sara Ingle, testified during the meeting’s community comments section. She expressed concerns about the requirement adding to the “already-complicated” nature of Corvallis land use.

“There is no huge public outcry for this,” Ingle said. “Developers already schedule these meetings. It adds to their costs, and it’s just not necessary.”

Most commissioners agreed, with the first vote on a motion from Rob Welsh to recommend in favor of the plan, falling on a 5-2 vote. The other yes vote, Susan Morré, spoke in favor of the concept because she said such meetings often lead to better developments.

Then, Carl Price offered a motion that would keep the meetings voluntary. Price’s expectation was that others would seek to amend the motion with code language that would give developers a template for how to set up a neighborhood meeting or differentiate between developments that have adjoining neighbors that might want to participate in such a meeting and those that do not.

When no amendments came, Price sought to pull his motion. After receiving counsel from Deputy City Attorney David Coulombe that the commissioners should go ahead and vote, Price’s motion went down 7-0.

Then Welsh, who expressed frustration at the pace of deliberations, put forth a motion to reject the meetings requirement. It passed on the aforementioned 6-1 vote with Welsh casting the lone vote against his own motion.

CIDAB, meanwhile, which is part of the process because it serves as the city’s state-required panel on citizen involvement in land-use planning, will discuss the neighborhood meeting requirement at its Dec. 6 meeting. The board’s agenda has tentatively allotted 20 minutes for the discussion. The Planning Commission discussed it during two meetings.

The Planning Commission was holding a special meeting Wednesday because at their Dec. 6 meeting they will deliberate on one land annexation and begin their review of two others. That meeting starts at 5:30 p.m., 90 minutes before the commission’s usual start time.

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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