Residents of Rose City Park’s northern border with the Cully neighborhood are awaiting a decision from Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Department on the possible rezoning of some properties on the south side of Northeast Fremont Street. According to Emily Courtnage, who lives next door to one of the properties in question, the state should respond to a May 4 objection to Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan rezoning signed by almost 60 neighbors within four months. The rezoning takes effect in 2018.
The object of contention is the 3430 N.E. 50th Ave. residence owned by Blair, Sara and Jason Peterson and occupied as a residence since 1927 when it was built. The objecting neighbors assert that this residence was not included in the original designation for rezoning to commercial/residential mixed use and should remain residential. They say the property has no frontage on Northeast Fremont Street and should not be rezoned. They further note that “we are unable to locate on the Comprehensive Plan Zoning Map any other location along Fremont, from North Fremont near I-405 all the way to Rocky Butte at Northeast 91st, where a residential lot not next to Fremont is being rezoned to a commercial designation.”
The neighbors also say that when the property in question was rezoned to commercial use, citizen involvement in the decision process lacked adequate notice about the amendment, resulting in “an outcome harmful to our neighborhood and directly at odds with city and state planning goals.” Citing “State Planning Goal Ten: Housing,” they assert that the rezoning will conflict with the objective of maintaining sufficient residential development capacity and “result in the demolition of yet another small family home in a residential neighborhood.”
The objection concludes with a recommendation that the state remand the comprehensive plan to the city to reverse the re-designation and rezoning or, alternatively, to remand to the city “to determine, in a transparent process with actual neighbor notification and meaningful neighbor involvement, a comprehensive approach to the south side of Fremont between 45th and 56th avenues that limits harm to surrounding residential sites and neighborhood streets.”
Courtnage also said Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is considering re-designation and rezoning of Rick Peterson’s adjacent property at 5024 N.E. Fremont to commercial/mixed use. “We understand neighbors will have opportunity to testify online, by letter, or in person before a decision is made on that property,” Courtnage predicted, “and many neighbors will oppose the up-zoning of that property, in large part because the comprehensive plan neighbor notification process (or lack thereof) was so ineffective or broken to the tremendous detriment of neighbors, and because we want to limit the damage on our corner that may result from commercialization of existing residential properties.”
The Peterson residence at 3430 N.E. 50th Ave. is the object of neighbors’ objection to impending zoning change that would allow mixed commercial/residential use on what has been residential for the last 90 years. Neighbors are expecting to hear back from Oregon’s Land Use Conservation and Development Department sometime this summer before new zoning goes into effect in 2018. (Emily Courtnage)