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Fwd: Ponderosa Ridge Questions

Hi Mark,

We met when you met with the Skyline West Neighborhood Association (SWNA) Steering Committee last April. 

As you know, there’s a very important City Council meeting coming up on Oct. 2, concerning the Appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Ponderosa Ridge development. As Safety Committee Chair of the SWNA, I’ve been involved in our neighborhood’s response to that development plan.

Yesterday, I sent to Skyline West residents the question and answer email below. I thought you might be interested in the questions our neighborhood is raising about the development. There are serious concerns about: 1) the impact of the development on traffic safety in Skyline West, and 2) the deviation of the Ponderosa Ridge developer from the 1995 Suncrest Conceptual Development Plan (CDP).  I realize that a main part of the Appeal is that the Ponderosa Ridge developer should not be allowed to use the 1995 Suncrest CDP. However, if they are allowed to use it, they should adhere to it. 

Please take a look at the email below and send me any questions you have.

I’ve also attached the letter I email today for the City Council’s information packet for the Oct. 2 meeting. Again, I’d appreciate your sending me any questions you have about it.

Thanks for all your time and effort in representing Ward 8,


Attachment: PonderosaRidge Duplexes-Safety&CDPdeviation.docx
Description: MS-Word 2007 document

Begin forwarded message:

From: John Krochta <jmkrochta@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Ponderosa Ridge Questions
Date: September 23, 2017 at 11:39:34 PM PDT
To: Skyline West Neighbors <neighbors@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hello Skyline West Neighbors,

I have received questions from several Skyline West residents concerning the proposed Ponderosa Ridge development.  Since this likely means that many other residents have the same questions, and  since many of the questions have relevance to Skyline West safety, I’ll try to answer them.

* What is the Ponderosa Ridge development?

I’ve attached a map that shows the location of the proposed Ponderosa Ridge development. Note, it has two phases, 1 & 2. These correspond to the Suncrest 3 & 4 phases (along with Suncrest 1 & 2) proposed in 1995.

* Why is the City allowing the Ponderosa Ridge developer to follow the 1995 Conceptual Development Plan (CDP) submitted by the original Suncrest developer?

The City has decided that the 1995 Suncrest CDP is applicable to Ponderosa Ridge 1 & 2, because Detailed Development Plans (DDPs) were submitted for earlier phases of the CDP (Suncrest 1 & 2) within 3 years of the 1996 CDP approval by the City.  However, that interpretation is being questioned. An Appeal of the Planning Commission approval of the Ponderosa Ridge development has been submitted to the City. The Appeal states:

"The Planning Commission was guided to use an inappropriate and unnecessarily permissive interpretation of the language in Section2.5.4O.09 of the 1993 Land Development Code ("Effective Period of Conceptual Development Plan Approval"). The LDC clearly states that detailed development plans are required for all phases of an approved conceptual development plan within the allowed time period. Because no detailed development plan was submitted for Suncrest phases 3 and 4 within the effective period, the current owner cannot properly assert that the more than 20 year old conceptual plan is still valid.

Note: Suncrest 3 & 4 are now Ponderosa Ridge 1 & 2)

* Were the currently proposed 62 duplexes along Ponderosa Ave a part of the 1995 Suncrest CDP?

No. The 1995 Suncrest plan specifically mentions attached townhouses in a few places but not specifically along Ponderosa Ave.  It appears that the Planning Department allowed the placement of the townhouses along Ponderosa to consolidate them in a dense manner in one place. The developer believes that placement of the duplexes along Ponderosa Ave minimizes their impact, because the duplexes don’t abut any lots located in neighboring areas. The Planning Department’s decision is surprising, given there is a figure in the 1995 Suncrest CDP that clearly shows 1-1.5 story detached houses along Ponderosa Ave. (See attached figure.)

* What is the basis for the requirement that the Skyline West and Walnut Blvd parts of Fair Oaks Dr. be connected?

Access to Walnut Blvd was a condition of the 1996 City approval of the 1995 Suncrest CDP. The Suncrest developer had originally proposed an elevated roadway over what is now known as the Lamprey Creek wetland, as a way to provide a route in and out of the Suncrest 4 area with a connection through Suncrest 3 and on to Ponderosa Ave. The City had concern over the impact on the wetland, so they required that Suncrest 4 (now Ponderosa Ridge 2) be connected to Walnut Blvd via a connected Fair Oaks Dr. This has been more recently affirmed by the Corvallis Fire Marshall, because of the increased demand on Ponderosa Ave if it were the only way in and out for Skyline West, homes north of Ponderosa AND the proposed homes of Ponderosa Ridge 1.

* Did the Ponderosa Ridge developer perform a “Traffic Impact Analysis”?

Yes. However, it focuses on the traffic impact on Ponderosa Ave., Glenridge Dr. and Walnut Blvd. Skyline West residents have expressed concern that traffic from Ponderosa Ridge 1 that aims at being south-bound on Walnut Blvd/53rd St (e.g., to OSU, SW Corvallis, the coast) will travel along Royal Oaks Dr and Fair Oaks Dr as a closer, faster route to reach Walnut Blvd. This would be a problem, because of the narrow winding streets, blind intersections, and lack of bike lanes, sidewalks and street lights in Skyline West.

* Is there a way to reduce Ponderosa Ridge 1 traffic impact on Ponderosa Ave, Glenridge Dr, Royal Oaks Dr and Fair Oaks Dr?

Some residents have suggested reinstating the earlier-proposed Suncrest 3 to Suncrest 4 elevated roadway to connect Ponderosa Ridge 1 to Ponderosa 2 and Walnut Blvd. Building a new road to the west of Lamprey Creek has also been suggested for making that connection. 

Reducing the number of residents in Ponderosa Ridge 1 may be the most likely approach to reducing traffic impact. Many area residents are concerned about the large impact of the 62 proposed duplexes along Ponderosa Ave on traffic and neighborhood character. Considering that the 62 duplexes comprise 124 residential units, they represent 47% of the proposed units in Ponderosa Ridge 1. Also, each duplex has approximately half the footprint of the average detached house in Ponderosa Ridge. If the duplex lots were converted to detached house lots, the number of residential units in Ponderosa Ridge would be reduced by 35%. That reduction would produce a large reduction in the impact of the Ponderosa Ridge 1 development on traffic and other issues.  

* The proposed 62 duplexes along Ponderosa Ave are a way to provide lower cost housing to residents. Is there a way to keep them in the Ponderosa Ridge development?

Yes. They can be shifted to Ponderosa Ridge 2, which is much closer to Walnut Blvd. Residents of duplexes in Ponderosa Ridge 2 could access Walnut Blvd without passing through any other neighborhood. Public transit and most places in Corvallis would be closer than any duplexes located on Ponderosa Ave.

* What happens next?

The approval of the Ponderosa Ridge development by the Planning Commission has been appealed, and the Appeal will be discussed and decided on Monday, Oct. 2, 7:30pm, by the Corvallis City Council in the City Fire Station Meeting Room, second floor, 400 NW Harrison Blvd.  Written testimony letters must be emailed to the Corvallis Planning Department by 5pm Sunday, September 25 (tomorrow or today, depending on when you are reading this message), in order to be placed in information packets for the City Council to consider. 

Testimony letters can be sent to: <planning@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or <Aaron.Harris@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>. See the following website for details:

*  What if I can’t write a letter in time for the City Council information packets?

You can email written testimony up until 5pm on the day of the hearing, Oct. 2, and these letters will be copied and provided to Council Members at the hearing itself.  Alternately, you can offer oral testimony at the meeting and provide 15 copies of your letter/testimony at the hearing.  Each speaker can speak for only three minutes, unless other residents assign their speaking time to that speaker.

* If I want to indicate my support, opposition or neutrality to the Ponderosa Ridge development, is it enough to write a letter?

Letters are important if you want to provide input on this issue.  Oral testimony at the Oct. 2 meeting is also important. Attendance at the hearing is important, too, even if you don’t feel you want to speak.  If you share the opinions being expressed by other area residents, you can assign your 3 minutes to another speaker to allow the completion of testimony on issues about which you have interest.

Thanks to all who have asked the above questions. I’ll try to answer any other questions sent to me, or you can send them to Aaron Harris, City of Corvallis Associate Planner: <Aaron.Harris@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

John Krochta
SWNA Safety Committee Chair

(See a Ponderosa Ridge map and a 1995 Suncrest CDP figure showing detached houses on Ponderosa Ave below.)

Attachment: PonderosaRidge - Map.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

JPEG image