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Hyde Drive rezone request could face rejection
Hyde rezoning request original.jpg
FILE PHOTO: A new development has been proposed for Hyde Drive in the Civic Center area. The houses would be single-family dwellings and be built for senior citizens in mind. City officials will be considering a request to rezone the property from residential low density (R-1) to residential high density (R-3). - photo by Lisa Hobbs

A zoning change request for property on Hyde Drive has been met with resistance. The McMinnville Regional Planning Commission met Tuesday to consider a request to rezone an empty lot on Hyde Drive from Residential-1 to Residential-3. The commission makes recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Property owner Stacey Harvey says the vacant lot is 11.6 aces, according to the deed, and he would like to use it for construction of single-family houses to be sold to seniors seeking to downsize from a larger residence so they can continue living independently.

“My wife is a physical therapist,” he said. “I’ve listened to her talk about the needs of her patients and how they are hindered by doorways and bathtubs and this and that. People are trapped in a lot of their homes. They can’t really renovate, but they can’t function in their homes. They don’t want to go to nursing homes. This is really to get to those people who have the ability to sell a house and then move somewhere they can actually live comfortably.”

The property is currently zoned R-1, low-density residential. Permitted uses are limited to single- family detached dwellings, accessory buildings, temporary structures, and TV, radio, and satellite dish antennas. R-3 is a high-density residential district. Along with the permitted uses allowed in R-1, R-3 also allows for multi-family dwellings and apartments, as well as “elderly housing and residential homes for the aged provided the application and site plan requirements and development standards for multi-family dwellings.”

The zones also designate lot size, with R-1 zone requiring a larger lot size than the R-3 zone. Project manager Mark Kawczynski said the city’s current zoning restrictions on R-3 would allow up to 49 homes and make the project financially feasible for the developer.

“We think 49 is the absolute most that we can get there and still meet the base R-3 zoning,” he said. “That’s a preliminary number. We may lose a couple.”

Commission chairman David Marttala asked if R-2, a medium density residential district, was a consideration or leaving the lot R-1 because it allows for single-family dwellings. “I think the 5,000-square-foot lot size is what’s attractive about the R-3,” said Kawczynski, in comparison to 7,500-square-foot lot size in R-2. “Because of the shape of the site and the constraints to get a decent sized building envelope and still get a reasonable number of lots in there, I feel like we need to have the 5,000-square-foot size per lot.”

Commission member Jerry Williamson asked if R-2 and constructing duplexes was considered. “We don’t feel like the clients we are trying to attract want duplexes,” said Kawczynski. “We feel like they want individual homes they can purchase and they don’t have a neighbor next door on the other side of a party wall.” Williamson stated, “The problem I’m seeing is that when you make it R-3 there are a lot of things that can go in there and it’s a big list. Anything on that list can be built.” Harvey said his intent would be to place restrictions on each deed as properties are sold to ensure they would be used for single-family dwellings.

“We are looking at some pretty strong restrictions on the deeds,” said Harvey. “We want to make sure that the intent of the development never wavers. I don’t want to have there what you guys don’t want. I live on Sunset Drive. This is my neighborhood, too.” Alderman Rachel Kirby pointed out all the lots around the lot proposed as R-3 are zoned R-1, a method called “spot zoning” which is not a recommended practice. Community Development Department director Katie Kemezis recommended the rezoning request be rejected due to the state’s stance against spot zoning and because the development would not fit into the neighborhood.

“I think this is a wonderful endeavor,” said Williamson. “It would be wonderful for the community but the zoning. You’re my buddy, but I just can’t agree with this zoning change.” Harvey replied, “I understand, but building apartments is the last thing that I want to do. I would rather let the property just sit there. If it’s R-3 you could build apartments,” said Williamson. Harvey replied that he understood the concerns and he may consider the feasibility of R-2. Committee members unanimously voted to recommend to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that the request to rezone property on Hyde Drive from R-1 to R-3 be denied. The measure will be sent to city officials for their consideration.