Lessons from the campaign

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On Monday, November 5, the city council will have a chance to demonstrate if they’ve been hearing the public during Keizer’s election campaign.

For some in Keizer the main issue in this election is about the council listening with respect to its citizens during public hearings. On Monday a public hearing will be held regarding the re-submitted application for a master plan and subdivsion in Area C of Keizer Station. The original master plan was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals and remanded back to the city.

The original plan was remanded back to the city due to what LUBA called a flawed traffic study and a concurrency rule that it said contradicts the city’s own code.

At public hearings held last year regarding the master plan for Area C, the council heard from witnesses, many from Keep Keizer Livable, a grassroots group that was formed to fight a big box store in Area C. Many felt then that the council did not truly listen to the concerns of some citizens. They felt vindicated after the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld LUBA’s ruling.

The new master plan submission doesn’t address the traffic study, but it scales back the single, large retail building from 116,000 square feet to one with 72,000 that would contain two retail tenants. The new plan also calls for 83 additional residential units.

No one expected that development in Area C would be swift or easy. The city might get to a point where it thinks it has all its ducks in a row, but groups such as Keep Keizer Livable could still choose to appeal the new plan if its concerns are not addressed.Members of the city council may want to get the project moving, but it should not rush to decisions without hearing from its citizens. If so many people appear to speak on Monday, the council needs to be ready to do the right thing and continue the hearing until the next council meeting. We’ve come this far, let’s not rush it.

Decisions on the new master plan may not please everyone. Everyone wants their view to prevail, but reality dictates that won’t happen. We live within a system where the majority rules, but everyone needs to feel confident that their views have been respectfully heard, whether they win or not.

—LAZ

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