Experts: Measure may not stop planned big box store

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By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

It’s likely the big box retail restriction measure wouldn’t stop a planned discount grocer in Keizer Station’s Area C, multiple land use experts told the Keizertimes.

There’s always the possibility a judge would disagree, and opponents of the planned store may find other legal avenues to challenge the site plan. But experts say the state’s goalposting statute would likely preclude the restrictions should Keizer voters choose to enact them.

Kevin Hohnbaum, a co-founder of Keep Keizer Livable, said this in an e-mail Tuesday: “After quite a bit of research and discussion with legal counsel, we’re confident that, when passed, the measure will impact the development of Area C.”

He declined to offer specifics, but said the measure isn’t just about that development.

Think of the goalposting rule like this, said Community Development Director Nate Brown: “An applicant has the right to rely on the set of regulations in place at the time of application.”

“You have uses that are … vested regardless of how the law has changed,” added Steve Oulman, a regional representative for the Oregon Department of Land Use and Conservation.

When a building application is filed, said Portland attorney Ed Sullivan, city planners have 30 days to tell an applicant whether the application is complete.

If it’s not complete, the applicant has 180 days to make it complete in the eyes of city planners, or can choose to have it be considered by the governing body – in our case, the Keizer City Council – despite city staff’s opinion.

Corinne Sherton, a Salem-based land use attorney who served as a Land Use Board of Appeals referee from 1987-1995, said she “doesn’t see any way that measure would affect the application.”

Because the application was filed before the big box restrictions were voted on, multiple land use experts tell us it’s likely a court – or the state Land Use Board of Appeals – would find the ballot measure’s new rules wouldn’t apply to the Area C application.

But Mark Shipman, also a Salem-based land use attorney, said the impact of a voter-approved ballot measure rather than a council-enacted change could be more profound.

“I don’t know if that will have different import than would an action by the city council of Keizer,” he said. “That’s an interesting question … and I don’t think it’s a question that can be easily answered.”

Hohnbaum said the measure is about more than the discount grocer – “it’s about giving Keizer residents a voice in what they’d like to see their city look like in the future.

“When the City Council gutted the definition of mixed use in the Keizer Development Code in 2008 to allow for unlimited buildings sizes, it impacted the entire community.  It also laid to waste all of the planning and discussion that went into creating the Keizer Station Plan. The ballot measure works to restore what citizens said they wanted Keizer to look like for their kids and grandkids,” Hohnbaum said.

The proposed change – which would restrict retail buildings larger than 65,000 square feet except for the currently-developed portion of Keizer Station – is to Keizer’s development code. Proponents may have had a stronger case had they chosen to amend the city charter, Sullivan said.

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9 Responses for “Experts: Measure may not stop planned big box store”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Of course this won’t stop the big box store. This plan was put into place a long time ago. All this ballot measure is going to do is stop future businesses outside of Keizer Station from expanding over 65,000 sq ft or building a new construction over 65,000 sq ft. Stupid.

    The Keep Keizer Livable are making themselves more and more irrelevant and just wasting tax payer dollars. They had better get use to seeing that big discount grocer out their front windows. Maybe the fresh smell of cooked food from their front porch will change their opinions of the grocer.

  2. Clem says:

    I can’t wait for the RV’s and simi trucks parking over night at the walmart.
    Maybe the chamber coudl have a Keizer city greeter in the parking lot to help them?

  3. Terry says:

    I cannot wait for a Wal-Mart to come into the area and take away business from Target! I’m also looking forward to not having to drive all the way to Lancaster, or the one by the Salem Airport.

    The argument about the traffic is lame at best because the traffic already congested and the City of Keizer hasn’t done a think about it.

    Face it, the city council are going to do what they want no matter what it’s citizens want. It’s the government and if you don’t want it, I expect to see you on the land with signs and asking for the council members of Keizer to step down. Its time for you to overthrow the council. If not, then quit your complaining.

  4. Walmart Greeter says:

    Welcome to Walmart!!!

    Thanks so much Mayor Christopher, Keizer City Council and Keizer Chamber of Commerce for keeping that small town feel that we Keizer folks like. Was a big box right next to a neighborhood in sync with the Keizer Visioning Process? Why of course. Traffic, hey we have that under control. To fit in with the neighborhood, we will just plant a few trees between us and the neighbors and call it mitigation.

    We at Walmart are looking forward to employing some more Americans at low wage, part time retail jobs without benefits (that’s where the local taxpayer comes in) while helping China’s economy out while discriminating against our female employees. And I suspect most of my comrades will do their shopping at Walmart as well. That’s just so great for our bottom line.

    I so hope our low low low prices will win out over your loyalty to the established businesses on River Road. Try our service out at Walmart. We will be just as nice as the people at Albertsons, Roths, Safeway, Copper Creek, True Value Hardware, the florist, the local cleaners, etc. We might look a little funny, but dog gone it, we will provide knowledgeable service too because we be trainable. So c’mon in y’all for some great prices and do drive on out through that nice Chemawa neighborhood to the west of us. It may take awhile, but we are worth the wait. We also plan on attracting some good ole parking lot _izards for you truckers and RV people that need a little break and some good ole Keizer hospitality.

    Who cares what the majority of citizens of Keizer envision for Keizer. We’re going BIG IN THE HOOD!! (BTW, Walmart is just an assumption because no one will say because ……. it has to be a secret. Shhhhhh, don’t let the cat out of the bag)

    KKL, you might have been a little late to the party but maybe if you win the election the council and chamber will change their mind. We can only pray.

    Welcome to ___Mart!!!

  5. WalMart Greeter says:

    Albertsons, Safeway, and True Value Hardware are national chains. I am so stupid I didn’t know that. I think I will just move to Brooks where there is one stop light and a local mini mart I can support. I know A walmart at the freeway entrance won’t ruin a small town feel, I just hate anyone shopping somewhere the charges a market price. I like to have no options and make people shop at the same places I will. I am a tool.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Duncan, Keizertimes. Keizertimes said: Experts: Big box ballot measure in #KeizerOR may not stop planned discount grocer http://bit.ly/epTJjJ […]

  7. Josue says:

    “Keep Keizer Livable” is full of BS. Heyvshoud rename themselves “Keep Keizer Jobless” I wrote about my thoughts on this topic at my blog: “Keizer, Oregon Needs More Jobs”: http://t.co/PSRhjrV #KeizerOR

  8. I see the NIMBY crowd are still alive and well. Please tell me why these businesses coming to our wonderful town are bad for us?
    The arguments I have seen so far are weak at best and silly at worst.
    We are talking about building WAY out on the freeway and unless you have owned a home near there for say 15-20 years, you are a newbie and bought your house nearby either out of ignorance or stubborness.
    The resulting NEW business that will flood into Keizer will bring more jobs, more business, more sales and more good will for our great town. Keep Keizer Liveable is a misnomer.

  9. John Maik says:

    This building is not WAY out on the freeway, it’s right next to a church, our little league fields and houses. A building built with the original plan would have brought jobs, everyone wants to talk about Wal Mart like they are the saving grace to Keizer and they will bring amazing jobs! Get real! Have you ever talked to a Wal Mart employee? Most people who are looking for work would like a career not just a job which is all Wal Mart will bring.

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