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home : business : business May 24, 2016

2/25/2014 1:02:00 PM
Business park developer seeks rezoning
By John Griffith

Three Sisters Business Park developer Peter Hall is seeking to rezone 19 light industrial lots to low density residential.

Hall brought his proposal to the Sisters planning commission Thursday night. Due mostly to potential noise issues from the adjacent properties, the proposal was continued for 30 days to allow Hall time to modify his request to address the commission's concerns

City planner Eric Porter presented the city's staff report in support of the proposed change in zoning of the 16-acre parcel at the north end of Pine Street Business Park or the Three Sisters Business Park.

Under the proposed zoning the 16-acre light-industrial parcel would be combined with an existing 12 acres to the north that is already zoned residential to allow for the construction of 100 to 130 single-family homes at roughly five lots per acre.

Porter indicated that the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) initially expressed concerns about the potential depletion of the light-industrial land that makes up part of the Sisters 20-year comprehensive plan. In response to the potential zoning change, DLCD conducted an "Economic Opportunity Analysis."

"His (DLCD representative) comments basically were that they didn't have concerns over this proposal," said Porter.

The city received only one letter of opposition to the change in zoning, and that was from the Robinson & Owen Construction Company. Robinson & Owen owns three lots directly south of the proposed project. Porter indicated that the letter did not give a reason for the objection.

Speaking in support of his proposal, Hall said that he and his partners acquired the land in 2005.

"In 2006 we did a lot of construction and built the infrastructure to the tune of a little over $1 million," said Hall. "In the last 7-1/2 years we have had two offers on the property, and neither one could close. There are just not any resources chasing the infrastructure."

Broker Peter Storton, a partner in Three Sisters Business Park, described some of the history of the Three Sisters Business Park and the adjacent Sun Ranch Business Park.

"In 2008 we sold several of the lots (in Sun Ranch) for $9 per square foot. There has not been one sale in Three Sisters Business Park or Sun Ranch Business Park since 2008," said Storton. "Currently there are two lots listed in Sun Park. They have been on the market for two years, one at $4 per square foot, and the other at $2.52 per square foot."

Speaking against the proposal, local developer Steve McGhehey raised his concern that most of the light industrial acreage listed in the city's inventory was in fact in "teeny pieces."

"We don't have anywhere where somebody could buy three or four lots and do something with 10,000 or 20,000 square feet," said McGhehey.

McGhehey also speculated on the reason for Robinson & Owens' objection. He said, "This proposal will put seven lots ... right up against a saw mill and a (Robinson & Owen) rock crusher operation."

Commissioner Daryl Tewalt, and then commissioners Alan Holzman and Darren Layne in turn, expressed their concern about the proximity of those seven possible houses to the industrial noise.

"To put residential right up against what we have (the rock crusher and saw mill) I don't think there is a question of whether there is going to be a problem; there is going to be a problem," said Layne.

Based on the noise concerns and commissioner Doug Roberts' concern that mirrored McGhehey's regarding removing light-industrial land from the inventory, the hearing was continued to the March 20 planning commission meeting.

Both Holzman and Layne cautioned Hall that if he returned in 30 days with the proposal unchanged that he would be in for "rough waters." While several of the councilors expressed their support for the overall concept of the proposal, all five shared concern over the lack of a "transition plan" between the residential and the light-industrial-park properties.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014
Article comment by: Diane Goble

You're planning to put 130 homes right under the airport flight path? Backing up to a rock crusher and a saw mill? I feel bad you spent all that money upgrading and haven't been able to sell your lots to light industry, but are you insane? If the City could figure out how to attract and ease up on requirements for new business start ups, with the airport right there, those lots should go like hot cakes.

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