Widely opposed Norwood housing development withdraws code change request

A pair of public notices stand on the property located at the intersection of SW Boones Ferry and SW Norwood Roads. Tualatin Life/File Photo
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Opponents of a proposed apartment complex celebrated last month after developers abruptly withdrew their application without explanation during a lengthy City Council meeting.

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.

“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and this is the first time that this has happened,” attorney Dana Krawczuk said of the developer’s 180.

Neighbors, who formed the grassroots opposition group Norwood for Smart Zoning, spent 8-months battling Atlanta-based developer Vista Residential Partners’ plan to build a 278-unit multistory apartment building on 9.2 acres adjacent to Horizon Community Church along Southwest Norwood Road near Southwest Boones Ferry.

“WE, THE COMMUNITY, WON!” they said in a celebratory email that asked members to hold on to yard signs in case “we may need them again soon.”

AKS Engineering & Forestry, on behalf of Vista Residential Partners and property owner Horizon Community Church, initially requested two code changes for the site.

The first sought to remove the development code limiting structure height to four stories; the second sought to change zoning for the property from medium low-density residential to high-density high rise.

If approved, the change would have upped the zoning for the entire parcel to high-density high rise. 

Developers had also proposed adding a traffic signal at the intersection of Southwest Norwood Road and Southwest Boones Ferry Road before occupancy and additionally creating a 60-foot buffer to preserve trees along Southwest Norwood Road.

Ten percent of the proposed units were designated as “affordable to workforce/middle-income households earning 80 percent of area median income,” but those protections were set to expire after 15 years. The project would have included 40 EV charging stations and been built to LEED green building standards. 

Though the request met the criteria for proposed changes, Council and community members spent hours questioning how the additional housing would impact traffic and livability.

After countering with traffic studies and addressing questions raised by the Council and community members during the hearing, Krawczuk returned from a short break in the meeting and pulled the request on behalf of the developers.

“We appreciate your candor,” she said. “We understand where this is going. We understand your concern about traffic. We want to respect everyone’s time and resources, so we withdraw our application. We’re not asking for this anymore.”

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