The city of Corvallis came up with a mixed bag of success at the Planning Commission in its bid to upgrade its buildable lands inventory and meet state requirements on its stock of high-density residential land.
The BLI project will help guide Corvallis land use and growth for the next two decades. During the BLI process the city was advised by the state that it had a deficit of 12 acres of land zoned for high-density use (RS-20). That zone usually means apartments, duplexes and townhouses, but it is not limited to those housing types.
The city has identified 96 acres of land for rezoning, with Community Development Director Paul Bilotta noting that the city is better served having a healthy stock of such land beyond the required 12 acres.
Here is a look at the acreage:
• A 51.4 acre site in South Corvallis along Highway 99W. The Corvallis Industrial Park property was rezoned from industrial use to RS-9 — medium-density housing — in 2016.
• A 15-acre plot consisting of two parcels south of Wake Robin Avenue. The Corvallis Industrial Park and Wake Robin properties are contiguous, although three different property owners are involved. The Wake Robin properties are zoned for light industrial/office.
• A 26-acre parcel called the McFadden Ranch in northeast Corvallis between the HP Inc. campus and the city’s Public Works complex. The property currently is zoned general industrial.
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• A 3.3-acre plot at the intersection of Northeast Circle Boulevard and Walnut Boulevard just north of HP. The land is on both sides of Walnut and is currently zoned general industrial.
At its April 3 meeting the Planning Commission held public hearings on the BLI approval as well as individual hearings on the four parcels. Commissioners were considering both comprehensive plan map changes and zone changes. The commission was charged with making a recommendation to the City Council on the comp plan and final decisions on the zoning, contingent on the council backing the comp plan changes.
The Corvallis Industrial Park and Wake Robin properties sailed through with no opposition. However, the McFadden Ranch property only received comp plan approval, with commissioners preferring a mixed-use zone rather than RS-20 for the property. Commissioners chose to keep the record open on the Circle-Walnut property and deliberate at its April 17 meeting.
Members of the public expressed concerns about the impact of development on Sequoia Creek, which runs through the northern edge of the Circle-Walnut property, Also of concern to residents are the railroad tracks just west of the property, although Planning Division Manager Jason Yaich noted that operating rail lines run past many residential developments, particularly along Southwest Sixth Street downtown.
Yaich also said that staff had some concerns about the property because adjacent parcels are zoned industrial and there are setback rules when industrial and residential lands abut that could pose challenges.
Because the McFadden and Circle-Walnut cases remain unresolved the Planning Commission could not move forward on the BLI adoption. Commissioners are scheduled to do so on that piece at their May 1 meeting.
The City Council will be the final arbiter in the process, considering the BLI adoption, the comp plan changes — and also the contingent zone updates — at a future meeting whose date has not been determined.