Lake Oswego City Council approves redevelopment plan

Opponents plan to take case to court after meeting on Oct. 7

Rendering of revised plan to build three four story buildings in downtown Lake Oswego that would contain apartments and retail space, July 24, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Rendering of revised plan to build three four story buildings in downtown Lake Oswego that would contain apartments and retail space, July 24, 2014. (KOIN 6)

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN 6) — After days of testimony, Lake Oswego’s City Council approved a plan Wednesday evening to re-develop the “Wizer Block.”

It took about an hour for council members to decide the fate of the iconic grocery store, which will now be demolished. Within three years, a new commercial and residential complex could be opened.

Council Member John Gustafson and the six other members heard testimony from people who agree with the plan and people who don’t, including Councilor Karen Bowerman.

“We have what I see as a monolithic type of structure that is four-stories as the plan,” said Bowerman.

The size of the proposal has always been opponents’ biggest concern and is partly the reason why the city’s Development Review Commission denied it two months ago.

The developer, Patrick Kessi, said he followed building codes, and in a rare move, appealed to the councilors whose public debate soon seemed to favor the plan.

Of course, the 5-2 vote in favor of the plan upset opponents who said they’ll take this case to court.

“We will go the distance. This is a fight worth fighting for and there are many citizens who support our position and we do feel the codes were violated,” said opponent Lita Gregg.

However, Kessi maintains his position that the plan complies with the code and is compatible with neighbors, completing Lake Oswego’s downtown vision.

The city attorney said the council can formally adopt Wednesday evening’s ruling at its next meeting on Oct. 7.

After that meeting, the opposition has 21 days to challenge the decision to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

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