One reason to vote “NO” on the Sather Annexation

I’m a big fan of Collaboration Corvallis. I’ve been to quite a few of their meetings – the steering group as well as the three work groups – and they are doing impressive work. They took a huge laundry list of issues raised by the community, all related to resolving the inherent problems that arise within a university town, issues that are exacerbated here by the recent high and fast growth plans at OSU … and created a well-functioning system of problem-solving groups that communicate fully with each other, thanks in large part to their project manager, Eric Adams.

It may seem like a typical bureaucratic waste of time, but believe me, it’s not! They are creating real solutions that run the gamut from education (teaching students how to be good neighbors) to signage (more clearly directing people to on-campus parking lots that sit empty in hopes that neighborhood parking might lighten up a bit) to changes in the Land Development Code. And that’s where it gets interesting ….

Collaboration Corvallis has already submitted a fast-track code change to be considered – and hopefully approved – by the City Council. It’s a change that would directly affect the Sather annexation and its development, and all future developments of this kind.

The city’s development code hasn’t been updated in a while and it does not address many of the problems created by the recent type of student housing construction going on around town. Specifically, parking code is written to apply to single family homes and typical apartment-style buildings. A three-bedroom “dwelling unit” must have 2.5 off-street parking spaces available. But that’s where the code stops. That same number applies to  four- and five-bedroom units as well, and when those bigger apartments come with four and five separate leases, you can bet they will also come with four and five cars that need parking spaces!

And so they have proposed this change in the code: four-bedroom units will require 3.5 parking spaces, and five-bedroom units must have 4.5 spaces.

What a difference this will make! I heard someone say that the new code would essentially eliminate all construction of five-bedroom units … and I say, “Hooray!” Let’s leave the dormitories on campus and build multi-family housing that will welcome all of the citizens of Corvallis, not just one select population.

The city cannot enforce a moratorium on construction until Collaboration Corvallis completes its work, but we as voters can say an emphatic “NO!” to this development.

Vote No on the Sather Annexation!

– MS

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