The way is now clear for a range of new residential development in the Basalt Creek area.
The Tualatin City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the City zoning code at their Oct. 12 meeting that will allow developers to build more homes on a 62-acre swath of Basalt Creek. The land in question is zoned for medium-low density residential construction (RML), and sits between Boones Ferry Road and Interstate 5 south of SW Norwood Road.
The zone amendment will allow smaller lot sizes in that area and increase the amount of space on those lots taken up by single-family detached homes. In addition, 20 percent of any homes developed in that area would need to be attached single-family structures such as townhomes. Existing code requirements allowing no fewer than 10 residences per acre would not change. Together, the changes would potentially allow well over 500 new homes to be built on the land covered by the amendment.
Property owners P3 Properties and Autumn Sunrise LLC, and contractors Venture Properties and Lennar Northwest, formed a group that collectively sought the amendments.
Councilors pointed to the City’s 2019 Housing Needs Analysis as the reason to their support. The Analysis calls for the construction of over 1,000 new homes in Tualatin by 2040.
“A lot of residents are concerned about the future of housing in Tualatin,” Councilor Robert Kellogg said. “The developer came in and made concessions they didn’t have to, to help us meet our policy goals.”
Opposition to the amendment was limited but loud.
“500 homes would be completely ballistic,” said Dan Cobb, who lives just north of Norwood Road. “It’s not quite enough land in our opinion.”
Cobb also criticized the intent of the applicants to build relatively affordable homes in any new development in the area. He said “building to the bottom of the market” means using low-quality materials and turning out homes that people ultimately will not want.
“My concern is this complex that is in this area across Norwood road is going to become over time a rental slum,” Cobb said. “We’re trying to build to the absolute bottom of the market, and if you add a HOA, which you will want to, these homes will be rather expensive, and yet not something anybody is going to want to stay in long term.”
Attorney Michael Robinson of Portland firm Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt represented the applicants at the Oct. 12 public hearing. He told councilors such claims are simply not true.
“With or without this text amendment the density is not being changed,” Robinson said. “Much of what Mr. Cobb concluded is just pure speculation, it’s simply not true.”
Robinson said Venture Properties and Lennar are reputable builders with long experience in the Portland market.
“Building housing that doesn’t fare well in the market is counterproductive to them because they are here in the market,” Robinson said, “It’s certainly not the way these builders behave, because I’ve known them for years.”