Their decision (dated November 8th) to “remand” the case means it will now be sent back to the City of Portland for further review.
After their development proposal was denied by the Portland Hearings Officer back in July, the owner of the riverfront parcel, Wayne Kingsley, and SK Northwest’s Shawn Karambelas, appealed the decision to the LUBA.
Calling the LUBA’s opinion a “mixed bag”, Emily Gardner from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) says it means SK’s controversial proposal to develop a parcel on the Willamette River (just south of OMSI) without allowing a key trail connection is still “up in the air”.
On one hand, the City scored an important victory in that the LUBA upheld the constitutionality of their code (Portland City Code 33.272.020) that says developers must grant a greenway trail easement through their property when one exists.
Still at issue however, and the reason the State decided to remand the case, is because the two sides have conflicting definitions of the location of “top of the bank”. The city has strict codes that prevent buildings from being placed within 25 feet of “top of the bank”.
Taken from graphics in the LUBA decision, here are the differing versions of “top of the bank”:
City of Portland
So what happens now? Here are some options according to Emily Garnder of the BTA:
- SK Northwest can appeal the LUBA decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals (they have 3 weeks from the decision date to file an appeal)
- SK Northwest can drop its application
- SK Northwest can go back to the City for a resolution
This case is much more complicated than I’ve outlined above. If you have specific questions, leave them in the comments and maybe Emily Gardner from the BTA (or other land use/legal experts out there) can chime in with some insights.
Emily says concerned citizens can help influence this process by encouraging City Council to send a message to the City Attorney and the Bureau of Planning encouraging them to uphold the decision of the LUBA hearings officer about the constitutionality of the code. The City should also hear the message that they need to work with the developers to identify a solution that maintains the waterfront trail option.
For extensive background and full coverage of this case, including interviews with SK Northwest owner Shawn Karambelas and Wayne Kingsley, see my archives.