Yesterday was the public hearing on the SK Northwest development case. Unfortunately I wasn’t there but here’s a report from what I’ve heard and read so far.
According to Evan Manvel of the BTA there were about 45 people there which is “significantly more than these hearings usually get.”
“The developers argued that the trail wasn’t a transportation facility, because it’s managed by Portland Parks rather than PDOT. They argued that they….weren’t impacting public access to the river and hence should not be required to improve such access. They also argued that bicyclists much prefer bike lanes to off-street paths.
We argued that adding 300-500 car trips across the interim cut-through path (on 4th and Caruthers) clearly impacts public access, that all of our surveys show bicyclists prefer off-street paths to bike lanes (especially those through industrial areas with parallel train tracks, trucks parked in bike lanes, and gravel everywhere), and that if industrial uses aren’t compatible on the property with the bike path due to safety, clearly the industrial-area bike lane on 4th is incompatible with safety and an alternate structure should be built.”
And Mike Houck from the Urban Greenspaces Institute had this to say:
“The appellant attorneys both argued that requiring the trail was contrary to the famous (or infamous) Nolan and Dolan US Supreme Court cases. The owner’s attorney argued that Dolan vs Tigard should overrule Portland’s standing requirement that when new development occurs that there be a direct nexus between the trail exaction and the development and then made the case that Portland only collects park SDCs on residential properties and, therefore, their requirement for a trail exaction on commercial property does not meet the test of nexus or proportionality.”
And a BikePortland.org reader who was in attendance had this to say:
“I haven’t read the decision, but from the presentation it seems the major issues are (1) it’s primarily a commercial (sales, service) enterprise rather than “water-dependent industrial” and (2) that the design for the buildings goes into the greenway even though it shouldn’t, and (3) the pathway from the building to the dock will permanently prevent a direct trail route between the end of Springwater at Ross Island Concrete and the rest of the Eastbank Esplanade.
I think the combination of improper zoning and protrusion into the greeway are both enough to prevent them winning the appeal.”
According to Evan, the hearings officer now has 17-24 days to make a final decision. I will try and report back as soon as I hear something. If you were there, please share your thoughts on how it went.