Grassroots Group Opposes Possible SW Norwood Road Zoning Change

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Members of the group Norwood For Smart Zoning oppose a potential zone change that would shift zoning in the outlined area from commercial to high density residential.
Members of the group Norwood For Smart Zoning oppose a potential zone change that would shift zoning in the outlined area from commercial to high density residential. Courtesy Norwood for Smart Zoning

Neighbors of an 8.2-acre property along SW Norwood Road are working to preemptively oppose a coming zone change request that, if passed, would make way for a proposed multi-story apartment building.

The grassroots group Norwood for Smart Zoning was formed in November in response to a letter sent to Tualatin residents by a local engineering firm announcing its application for a zone change that would up the allowed building density on the land from institutional to high-density residential, according to an email sent by the group.

Atlanta-based developer Vista Residential Partners plans to build a 278-unit multistory apartment building on the site.

The parcel is comprised of two lots, the larger 7.2 acres is owned by Horizon Christian High School and the remaining acre currently belongs to unincorporated Washington County.

“New signs are posted indicating partition and annexation of Horizon property on Norwood Road,” a December email from the Smart Zoning group warned subscribers. “What this means is AKS Engineering and Forestry is preparing the application to partition (the two parcels) to create the 8.2 acres for the high-rise apartments.”

The group is fundraising with the hopes of collecting $10,000 to enlist a lawyer in their battle.

Adding 278 more units to the area, they contend, will exacerbate existing traffic problems in the area.  Annexation notices were posted in late December on both lots.

Several area residents spoke at the late November City Council meeting, expressing concerns with increasing traffic, pollution, tree removal, and other potential environmental impacts it could bring, and asking for additional transpiration studies.

The group calls for instead preserving and protecting the site as a natural area.

“The people of the surrounding neighborhoods and Norwood for Smart Zoning believe that the last acres of Norwood Forest should be honored,” according to an alternate vision for the land shared on the group’s website. “In doing so we propose “Norwood Forest and Community.”

Leaving the lots undeveloped for parkland, they contend, would both ease future traffic and create a natural bridge between “a treasure from an old, rooted community to all our new neighbors in the coming years.”