On January 27, about a dozen near neighbors from Southeast Eugene met with developer Tom Walters of Walters Custom Homes and Renee Clough of Branch Engineering to discuss Walters’ proposed “Chemotee Trails” development. The meeting was at the Charlemagne French Immersion School on Mahalo Street. Deborah Noble, Emily Fox and Lealan Swanson of Southeast Neighbors attended.
In 2006, Mr. Walters purchased land between West Amazon and Fox Hollow roads with a eye to developing housing on the site. Citing a “need for smaller houses after the kids leave,” he envisions 2400 to 2700 square foot houses. Walters says he hopes to build eleven houses on lots of ninety-five feet. He also wants to preserve its natural diversity by leaving a good portion of the site undeveloped. Currently, part of the land tends to become saturated in the rainy season, so a catchment pond area is planned.
Neighbors expressed concerns about several issues including: the grade of the site, traffic and access to future housing, protections for existing neighbors, storm water and waste water sewers and ground water flow in heavy rains. Three particular concerns were expressed by nearby land owners. The first was the condition of the soil. One man pointed out that the ground on the site tends to be impermeable because it is thin soil over rock or hard clay. The second point he made concerned the movement of earth in the area; currently some nearby neighbors have foundation problems as a result. The final problem expressed by the neighbors was cited by a woman who mentioned the fires in the area last summer (2014). These were caused by grass fires and threatened to become a hazardous forest fire in the dry summer weather. They were quickly doused by the Eugene Fire Department. Overgrowth and forest debris constitute a significant fire hazard to residents.
Historically, there are a number of old horse trails which were used before streets and automobiles arrived in the area. Pointing out that “Chemotee” is the original Indian name for Spencer Butte, Walters and Clough said they are preparing initial applications for the development. They said that the earliest they could possibly expect actual building will be in 2016.