What are the neighbors saying about the Amazon Corners LUBA Appeal?


This week, the Southeast Neighbors Board will decide whether or not to appeal the recent decision made by the Eugene Hearings Official on the Traffic Impact Analysis Appeal for Amazon Corners, a new mixed-use building with residential and commercial uses at 31st and Hilyard, to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The Eugene Hearing Official denied the appeal on all counts and a decision to appeal or not to appeal is due Monday, April 24.

Heather Sielicki has initiated an electronic vote of the Southeast Neighbors board which will conclude on Saturday, April 22. 

LUBA hears and rules on appeals of land use decisions made by local governments and special districts. The major expense in a LUBA appeal is for attorney fees. Southeast Neighbors currently owes about $7,000 for the last LUBA appeal made by the Association over the Amazon Headwaters and has less than $1,000 in the community bank account.

Seven positions are open for election to the neighborhood board on Thursday, May 4: chair, vice-chair and five at-large directors. A LUBA appeal would consume this next board’s time and energy and we want to hear from you on whether or not you believe this is the right direction for Southeast Neighbors to go in at this time.

Contact the board with your comments.

Should Southeast Neighbors appeal the Amazon Corners Traffic Impact Analysis decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA)?

Comments we have received so far on the poll we sent out to our eNewsletter subscribers (as of 4/21/17 at 1:00 PM) are included below:

I wish to have more retail businesses in easy walking walking distance from my home. I believe more dense housing will bring the nodal-neighbor benefits o reducing the need to leave the neighborhood area for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
I sense that the decision is a fait accompli and that any work that we put into an appeal will be wasted.
Thank you for asking the neighbors and not just dictating what we want. I do NOT think it would be a wise decision to appeal.  It would obviously be an unwise financial decision, and as the stewards of the community bank account, you would be derelict in you duties to travel down that path again.
Thank you for asking the neighbors and not just dictating what we want. I do NOT think it would be a wise decision to appeal.  It would obviously be an unwise financial decision, and as the stewards of the community bank account, you would be derelict in your duties to travel down that path again.
An already constricted area in regards to traffic, this project needs careful consideration and analysis of the impact of increased usage. What does this do to the side streets east of Hilyard? How would the increased traffic be handled on Hilyard? Turning and access is already difficult on Hilyard at that intersection. I live very near and do not shop at Albertsons, unless I walk, because of the difficulties getting in and out of their parking lot.
SE Neighbors voted to save Amazon Headwaters from development. Great, expanding out can hurt the environment and encourage more harmful use of cars. We can’t then turn around and say that infill development in a properly zoned area, by a locally based developer who has a track record of good work, is a bad thing! We can’t be the NIMBY neighbors. Eugene is growing, we can’t make it stop, let’s welcome intelligent growth and work to continue to find ways to guide our city to a more sustainable, walkable, affordable place!
SEN should worry about paying off its existing debt before taking on more, especially in what is very likely to be a losing appeal. And more importantly, there are more critical issues facing our neighborhood than this development. Use the $7000 cost of an appeal for another small housing unit for the homeless at the Episcopal church on Hilyard, support replacing the antiquated playground structure st Tugman, help ensure safe bike/ped crossing on Hilyard (at Tugman), along Amazon, especially at Fox Hollow.  There are many more critical needs than a Quixotic quest against Amazon Corners.
There is probably too much money behind potential investors to honestly win this.  That area is a “trafficky” mess anyway, so they may live to regret it in the end.  That being said, freeing ourselves of that issue will allow us to regroup our resources to fight another day for a more doable battle.
This would not be a good use of time or money at all and I also do not believe that there is a chance for success at all. I would like to see the project move forward and look forward to Amazon Corner in the neighborhood.
Please. Southeast Neighbors has only $1000 in the bank and already owes $7000 for the most recent appeal? That fact alone should make the decision easy: No. Do not appeal.
But furthermore, why resist urban infill? This is such a classic NIMBY case. And I hate to admit it because I am one, but liberals adopt this NIMBY opinion whenever something doesn’t their way. Let’s accept infill instead of more growth in, say, west Eugene.
I believe the objections based on traffic impact of the plan are misguided. Developments like these are bad for cars, but good for people. We should be encouraging walkable neighborhoods with mixed-use development for the benefit of all.
We may be divided on whether or not we think this is a good idea, but there is really no case here. A feeling with me just throwing away money.
I don’t believe this is an effective use of our time or our budget.
’tis better to grow up than out, even in my backyard.
Amazon Corner is a great project for our neighborhood. SEN board should be promoting and supporting compact, mixed use, walkable development in our neighborhood, not opposing it.
Why didn’t the association conduct a poll like this for the first appeal? I would like to have more polls in the future.
I think we should agree but ask for some low income housing in the unit!
Yes, appeal!
General concept of the project is positive in many ways. The property is zoned for that type of development. On the negative side, neighboring houses likely will be impacted in value-at least short term. At some point the new development could be a positive for nearby housing value. Finally, the expense of a LUBA appeal is not prudent use of limited funds by the neighborhood association.
I’ve read through Fred Wilson’s Decision of Appeal and feel his positions on the various contested issues are reasonable.  There’s no doubt that the Amazon Corners development will bring both positive and negative impacts (increased traffic among them) to the neighborhood, but on balance I believe the pros will outweigh the cons.  Southeast Neighbors should focus it’s energy and financial resources on other issues.
I’d rather see us save the money to oppose development of the 5.72-acre site adjacent to the Deerbrook PUD. Besides, while an Amazon Corners development would increase traffic (a downside), the city is obligated to do what it can to offset the increase; the housing is needed; and the proposed development (if I understand correctly) is mixed-use. The latter means, potentially, more rental spaces for neighborhood professional services and other small businesses—and a resulting slower rise in their rental costs. It’s important to me that we support small and home-based businesses in appropriate areas, when we can. They definitely benefit our neighborhood!
Not a wise use of funds, I believe.
This will be a wonderful addition to our area. Upscale and carefully designed, it will ENHANCE property values
Don’t waste anymore money! It needs to be spent in the community!
Waste of money for something that appears to meet regulations, will increase housing units, is on bus lines, and in a walk able area of town.  Doesn’t appear to be much public backing for the appeal and I think it will reinforce the mostly correct opinion that the South Eugene elitists represented by the neighborhood group are out of touch and have a NIMBY attitude.
No.  I think SEN Board has done it’s best to accommodate small group of neighbors who opposed project based on an objection to the TIA.  The Hearing Officer ruled against you guys on all counts; also, read the record, the Developer and city technical cases were strong and clear. SEN has no reason to expect they might prevail in LUBA appeal and, as such your (our neighborhood’s) cost exposure is high. I actually don’t think you can make a decision that potentially obligates the neighbors to potentially high and unknown costs. No.
The proposed development fits the city’s infill goals.
The proposed development fits the city’s infill goals.
Reasons not to appeal include:

– Lack of funds for legal services.

– Time commitment required from board, which will take away from other important activities.

– While traffic will certainly be increased, in my opinion traffic on Hilyard is not very heavy now and the increase will likely not be a big impact.

– Mixed-use development is not necessarily bad and may actually contribute to the neighborhood.

Ideal location for urban infill.
More people are moving here, and we need to find room for them.  Maybe the traffic changes will benefit all of us.
This is the exact kind of development that would be great in this neighborhood. I bike, bus, and drive near here almost every day and feel that it would be a major improvement for the neighborhood  to have mixed use on that corner! We should be building more things like this in our area and not trying to build more houses out farther which will actually increase the traffic MORE than a development like this because  people will be forced to drive more because of the distance. Growth is coming, we need to build in a way that brings it sustainably.
It’s absurd that we should appeal this project. It is allowed outright and exactly what our community needs if we care about sustainability, density, and controlling sprawl.  It meets all of the objectives for location with LEED.
We should ask the city to patrol the area with motorcycle cops regularly to control traffic speed.
Our family is excited to have a new mixed-use development just 4 blocks from our house.  It will be wonderful to have even more places to walk to in our neighborhood.  We feel it will increase our property value and enhance our livability.  We look forward to the enhanced crossing for people that walk and bike as well.  Please do not waste the neighborhood’s money fighting an excellent development in a very appropriate place (i.e. along a major transit and walk + bike corridor and next to grocery, banks, doctors, parks, dog parks etc.).  SE neighbors can not fight development on the Amazon headwaters saying it will lead to sprawl and then fight good development within our core and say it makes us too dense.  It doesn’t work like that.  We need to be a Southeast Eugene for all!
After reading the Hearings Officer’s decision and rationale, don’t see what wiggle room SEN has for appeal.  What would be the basis for an appeal to LUBA?  Perhaps the underlying problems are the city’s regulations and application thereof, rather than the specific development.  If so, LUBA appeal would seem to offer no relief.
I believe this would be a waste of very limited financial resources.
I have been directly involved in a LUBA appeal before and believe this to be the next step to sorting out the underlying issues.
The current analysis disregards the importance of 32nd as a major link for thousands of residents to access businesses, services, places of worship, family and friends, for example, the post office, to the south and west of Hilyard.  It already is difficult and dangerous for drivers to get off the hill to the east of the proposed development.  No help has been provided for those needing to turn left.  No lights that provide safety for drivers exist between 30th and Hilyard and Lane Community College.  When activated, the light at University and 30th is a confusing nightmare that results in numerous cars stacked up in both directions and confused drivers not being sure how to proceed with a blinking red light.  When my husband and I need to drive south on Hilyard or go west for most of the city’s services, we usually drive through the neighborhood to avoid the wait and danger of turning left at 32nd.   We either go east (the opposite direction)  driving east on 31st between Onyx and Agate, then have to turn left on 30th.  Or, we drive west on 32nd, then turn into the alley at the medical center to the south of the proposed development, then go through the Mazzi’s or Paddock parking lot to be able to turn right onto Hilyard, then go straight or turn left at the tricky intersection at 33rd and Hilyard.  This is nuts!  Adding another blinking light system, such as at Alder and 30th, provides some security for pedestrians but is confusing and dangerous for drivers who fear being rear-ended by east and west bound drivers who don’t see anyone still in the crossing area.  Please push for reconsideration of the analysis which will make a bad situation considerably worse and most importantly dangerous for SE residents.  Thank you for our efforts on our behalf.
The  congested traffic situation created by this apartment project will negate the positive traffic flow which has been created over 40 years in this neighborhood.
The city did a comprehensive review. The appeal will just cost us money, the city money and LUBA will side with the city. This delays the development which delays more housing in an already strained market, it delays the collection of important SDCs and property taxes that ensure our city runs smoothly, and it delays having more services being offered in our neighborhood.
I want this development in our neighborhood. I live in the Southeast Neighborhood.
It seems to me that effort has made and money spent to question this decision, and whether we like it or not, the applicant is apparently in compliance with City requirements. Also, given there is already a $7,000 deficit, how would this appeal be financed?
Let the development happen. It will be good for the area. STOP wasting everyone’s time.
The City and applicants’ traffic analysis has not been thorough enough.  Neighbors living in this area know well that there is much more activity at all times of day than is acknowledged.  I’m particularly concerned about the foot and bicycle traffic: currently it is an area where walkers, bikers and runners  have enough room and safety margins to feel comfortable, but with any increased traffic, we will not and I am afraid more people will start using cars.  So THAT will increase traffic more, and development in the SE hills will increase traffic even more (those developments and increased traffic were not considered in the impact analysis.
I live directly behind the lot. I am not supporting the building of the complex. However, I believe that there is nothing more that can be done. You are wasting time, money, and effort.

There is nothing anyone can do. It will be built and another traffic assessment is not going to make any difference!

LUBA won’t stand up for the property owners. They almost always defend developers and polluters. So, even with our excellent presentation, LUBA will deny us. Our best bet was the traffic appeal with the hearing judge, and we lost that.

The city, county, and state all want more housing, at almost any cost, and that’s why we’ll lose.

I was considering buying a home in the neighborhood but am now reconsidering it, given the potential traffic impact of this development. SE Eugene is desirable for its livability and neighborliness, which contributes to the charm of the city as a whole. A viable and progressive city would recognize that the size of this development would alter the health and character of the neighborhood. I am not opposed to a smaller one, but the current proposal screams “greed” (max-out every inch of the property),  at any cost to the neighborhood.
Amazon Corners is exactly the type of development we need in South Eugene. SEN should definately not appeal the Amazon Corners Traffic Impact analysis decision to LUBA. Eugene is growing, and the cost of housing is unaffordable to many, while those that “got theirs” seem completely blind to the struggles of other’s who are housing cost-burdened (meaning they spend greater than 30% of gross income on housing). We hear the same cry about increased congestion on every new multi-family or mixed use project. Seriously, what Eugenians call congestion is measured in seconds of additional peak hour intersection time rather than minutes or hours.  If that’s your primary criteria, you will only get more cars. Why not instead incentivize development that places more people closer to the jobs and services they need so they can walk, take transit, or ride a bike? Finally, SEN has better things to spend their resources on.
I do not support a Southeast Neighbors appeal to LUBA nor did I support the first appeal. I believe the role of a neighborhood association is to facilitate open lines of communication with our neighbors, city government and our elected representatives. An association should inform the public and empower community action. We are a vibrant and diverse community that shares a wide range of opinions. We represent over 12,000 people. I believe a neighborhood association should only take legal action when (1) there is a true threat to the community, (2) there has been extensive community outreach to gauge opinion, and (3) there is sufficient capacity to undertake the effort. None of these conditions are in place.
I don’t think the traffic analysis was done fairly. The developers were allowed to hire their own company to do it, and the City pushed it through. The impact is going to massive. I live next to the site. I think the building is going to be way to big for the neighborhood.
Frankly, I am not strongly opposed to the project, but I think the 5 story concept is too large for that area. I would like to see a smaller… perhaps 3 story…  version implemented.
This is an excellent use of the land, I personally would go to a restaurant in the complex and even consider living there when I’m ready to downsize.  I am strongly in favor of the apartment complex.  Also – why would the SE Neighbors spend even more money we don’t have?
This are will be developed and tis is an opportunity to have the first big project be a quality project.  That will set a positive for later development.
Eugene has an urban growth boundary. We will all have to accept higher density housing if we are to have adequate housing for future growth.
Please do not use the little money we have left for this. I feel the impact of this development will be positive.

Thanks

Where are people going to live?
New to the neighborhood.  $6K in expense beyond current assets needs to be retired first.  Not in favor of debt.
Years from now I suspect this building will be an asset to the neighborhood.  I would hate to see us waste money on an appeal and will not contribute to it.  My wife feels similarly.  I feel compassion for those currently living within 3-500 feet of the building as their views and traffic will doubtless be impacted to some degree.  They were aware of the zoning, however, and should have little legal footing to oppose the city’s movement towards the “local neighborhoods” that most of us see as important to keeping the city livable.

They built a huge synagogue across from my house because it was zoned for same.  I opposed it at the time but it has turned out to be a good thing for the neighborhood.  Yes we have more traffic…but we also have more good people!

Looking at the evidence presented at the Hearing, I think there is no question that Amazon Corners is much too large for the area  and has many potential problems.

It needs to be scaled back in size.It will set a precedent for all Eugene, especially the southeast area.  I think the decision needs to be a appealed to LUBA.  Even if we have to have garage sales to pay for the expenses….its penny’s on the dollar  compared to what could be lost in the long run.  I’m willing to help any way that I am able to.

Eugene needs to have more higher density housing in order to preserve more undeveloped land. This land is zoned for this project, it is placed near transit and stores, and there are so many more important things to spend energy on. We need to increase services for homeless folks and improve Tugman Park’s playground equipment. Let’s focus on making things better, rather than fighting a losing battle.
This seems like a model development for SE Eugene and I vote to enthusiastically welcome the new residents and businesses.  That said, Eben Fodor’s presentation contains photos that demonstrate how terrifying this area is for pedestrians and bicyclists. I would like to see some designs for elevated bike crossings and elevated bike paths that tie the Alder and Amazon Creek bike paths.  Google found some interesting innovations in the Netherlands and China, such as this: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/blogs/china-cycleway .  I also encourage all of us as SE Neighbors to personally start reducing traffic in the area by using alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles at least one day per week. Walk, bike, bus, carpool.
Our neighborhood ought to be a little more open minded regarding what it means to be progressive. Most of us can bike, walk, or ride the bus to get to most areas of the city, so I don’t believe the issue of traffic should impact our decision-making. I feel our culture could be improved with denser population and, hopefully, diversity to include minorities and those who are financially challenged. We need to shed the “not in my backyard” mentality and embrace and encourage these differences. I would like to see a lot more small businesses in the south Eugene area that we can easily access without getting in a car. This is too much of a bedroom community, and if we had more businesses close by we would get out more and our children would more safely get out as well. Thanks.
Southeast Neighbors have already provided an exhaustive appeal to the City which was denied.  In the decision, it was noted that while the appellants provided many arguments for why the TIA should be denied, the arguments were addressed by the TIA provided by the applicant.  The City provided clear reasoning for why the arguments in the appeal were denied.

It’s clear that many people are not in favor of the development, and it is understandable that the changes brought by the new development may not be welcome to residents in the community. However, the applicant has legitimately met the city requirements for developing the property.  Regardless of the opinions  expressed against the development, the applicant has demonstrated compliance with City requirements.  They are operating within their rights to develop the property as zoned by the City.

The Southeast Neighbors have performed ample diligence to produce arguments against the adoption of the TIA. The decision has been made so it is now time to accept the decision and stand aside.  The energies of this group are better spent elsewhere.

This essentially a residential area.   The traffic is already more than can be handled and will become horrendous with just the apartment tenants added.    The shops will draw people from other areas which will even add more.  It’s like a bottleneck here – not many options for avoiding traffic except  going through residential areas and then just ending up in a bottleneck someplace else.  Thirty-third (which is residential) has bumper to bumper traffic waiting to go on Hilyard in the morning already.  We don’t want to end up like Santa Clara.    We don’t need anymore grocery stores and we have sufficient restaurants for everyone’s taste.  All this amounts to is builders who are greedy to build and have seen a chance to make a mark in our neighborhood.  The traffic from LCC and the Montessori School already add to the congestion.
Instead of outright objecting to this, have you all tried to get the developer, along with maybe a planner and an architect to sit down and talk about the design? There are a lot of examples of how multi-housing units can be integrated into a community with a whole lot less “ugly” and impact.  Since it’s likely going to happen, the neighborhood should focus on how it will happen. A lot of times, developers would rather work with a neighborhood.
There seems to be conflicting information on the extent of traffic impact. Further evaluation is needed.

I’m ok with the development
Project too big for the site and the neighborhood. Lives will be changed against their will for someone elses financial gain who doesnt live in the community. The location should be developed in a more moderate way to service the local economy and housing need.
This would be a monstrosity in our neighborhood
Appealing this land use decision is NOT a good idea in my opinion. We have lived in our neighborhood for over 7 years now and plan to be here years into the future. We love the idea of having a mixed use development near us, including more density. SE Neighbors appealed the Amazon Headwaters not long ago, and have been outspoken against UGB expansion. If we don’t do a UGB expansion, then we need more density like this. I think this is a well-planned development and right for this neighborhood along Hilyard Street.
This kind of multi-use development is, while not perfect, a great addition to our neighborhood and city as a whole. It will add walking and biking destinations in the neighborhood and bring some much needed housing to the area.
This project is a very good match for its site, and it aligns with our community’s stated goals for measured growth with minimal sprawl.
I’m really against this project, as it’s designed—size, for one. Just way too big, too tall. Traffic is already bad in this area & I too drive thru local streets there when I go to the PH Clinic (to avoid a left turn on Hilyard), & on 33rd, to avoid 30th/Hilyard. To me, South Eugene is a very special neighborhood; I’ve not always been able to live here, but am so glad to be back living here again now. This isn’t a NIMBY/‘elitist’ or no-growth issue; I saw a builder ruin the 24th/Willamette residential area with designs that weren’t in character or scale with the neighborhood–& yes, it set a precedent (that area changed drastically, for the worse). And that locale is far more urban, with less trees/beauty, than S. Eugene. There were people fighting some of this there, though–an architect who owned houses there & an attorney & I think a city councilor who lived in the neighborhood. So I’m wondering if there aren’t people in the SE neighborhood, or even other S. Eugene neighborhoods, who might want to help with this important issue? What about the residents who live right near this project? I appreciate all that SEN did on our behalf, & agreed with the letter the SEN Board wrote; thank you so much! I’m for a further appeal, IF you can find others to help with $$ & time & hopefully some expertise, as well.

 

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