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Student housing project on Grove Street approved

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Developers who hope to tear down a house on Southwest Grove Street, subdivide the lot and build two five-bedroom houses got the green light Wednesday from the Land Development Hearings Board.

The board, a three-person subset of the Corvallis Planning Commission, voted unanimously to approve the project despite a recommendation from city staff that the project be limited to three-bedroom units.. Board members Paul Woods and James Feldmann voted in favor of the plan. Tucker Selko, who was acting as chairman, did not vote because the chair only votes to break a tie.

City staff expressed concerns about the plan because of the additional pressure it would put on parking on the street, which includes townhouses and apartment complexes. Also, the development would violate a code rule that calls for no more than 18 units in a cul-de-sac..

The board was swayed, however, by compromises suggested by developers, who proposed to include three parking spaces per unit (one more than the code requires), plus covered and uncovered bicycle parking.

Also, the 18-unit rule for cul-de-sac had been interpreted as a recommendation rather than a requirement until a 2013 Planning Commission decision in the Coronado Tract B apartment case.

The two units in Grove Street project would bring the total number of units on the block to 45, although city staff thought it was quite likely that much of the development on the street preceded the 18-unit rule. Woods said that going to 45 units didn't seem like enough of an addition to deny the project.

The property is close to Reser Stadium, just southwest of Oregon State University, and the developers hope to rent the units to students.

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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