The planned subdivision – boxed in by 26th Avenue, Juniper Street, Hawthorne Street and protected wetlands – raised questions and concerns from city staff, commissioners, developers and a neighboring property owner. By the end of the evening, the commission sorted through nearly 40 conditions of approval before giving the updated plans a 4-0 yes vote.

The proposed development originally came before city officials in 2006 and 2007 as Giltner Glenn, gaining approval and breaking ground with some public improvements like water, sewer and street access. The developer at the time did not finish the project, ultimately losing it with the onset of the recession in 2008. City Redevelopment LLC picked it up as what representatives called a “rescue project” and sought fresh approval from the city with some modifications to the original design.

It’s not the first time the Planning Commission has heard from developer Rick Waible of City Redevelopment LLC, and he said it won’t be the last. The commission addressed a different phase of the ongoing Casey Meadows project on June 17.

Casey Meadows is meant to offer lower-priced homes for first-time home buyers and young families in Forest Grove, representatives say. While some of the city’s newer houses are priced at upwards of $350,000, Casey Meadows’ targeted range is $200,000 to $250,000.

Commissioners, staff and the developer outlined dozens of conditions to address issues ranging from the placement of electrical meters to creating a variety of exterior designs for houses that are tucked closely together, some with 6-foot side yards measured from one house’s wall to the neighboring house’s wall.

“Nobody wants to live in a house that’s exactly the same as the one next door,” said senior city planner James Reitz. “This is a neighborhood we’re trying to create.”

The developer agreed to conditions that will require exterior differentiation from house to house through window designs, siding styles and the shapes of roofs, porches and other features. City Redevelopment also decided to install gates near electrical meters to discourage homeowners from building fences closer to the devices than the nationally required 3-foot minimum.

For neighboring property owner Linda Monte, the development could be a threat to privacy and security on her property, she told the commission.

The plans show a street that narrows and winds slightly as it skims alongside her property. It appears to cut through some of the vegetation there.

“I don’t ever intend to have a street running through my property, but that’s where it’s labeled,” Monte said.

Morgan Will, representing the developer, said the street will run alongside the property line but will not cross onto Monte’s land.

Monte also asked that a fence be put up between the new subdivision and her property for privacy and to prevent people from trespassing. Commissioners agreed, and Chairman Thomas Beck said it is not unusual to require a “friendly neighbor fence” when a new subdivision goes in. It will most likely be a 6-foot cedar plank fence.

The final building plans for each lot must be approved by city planning staff before construction starts in the next year or so. The subdivision is set to include 65 single-family homes, a protected wetland area and a paved pedestrian trail.

–Kari Bray

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