The city of Portland hearings officer issued his recommendation for the Colwood Golf Course rezoning proposal (6.5 MB PDF) on August 22, including the traffic mitigation plan that would require the addition of a third lane to southbound onramp from Killingsworth Blvd to I-205.

Final approval of the proposal (3.5 MB PDF) — which would preserve about 90 acres of the Colwood Golf Course as open space by turning about 48 acres into industrial zoning — goes to a public hearing at the Portland City Council on Wednesday, September 25 at 2 PM.

Neighborhood residents are encouraged to testify at the hearing to express their views about the onramp widening. Testimony can also be submit in writing in advance. See these helpful tips for testifying (PDF) on land use cases.

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Southbound again, the I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth with nearby homes on the right

The 48 acres to be rezone is located entirely north of Cornfoot Road and Alderwood Road. Widening the onramp here in Sumner — 1.5 miles from the site being rezoned — is the traffic mitigation solution recommended by Portland city staff and approved in full by the hearings officer. Here is the recommendation:

Prior to issuance of Building Permit and/or Site Development Permits for new development on Tax Lot 100 (48.36 acres), off-site transportation improvements must be addressed, through coordination and construction under separate Public Works Permits issued by PBOT and ODOT, with the following improvements:

  • Add a third queuing lane for the southbound on-ramp to result in three 12-foot wide lanes;
  • Widen to the outside of the existing lane to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Replace the existing ramp meter to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Provide new illumination;
  • Accommodate stormwater from the new impervious area in roadside swales; and
  • Provide any necessary related improvements to NE Killingsworth at the intersection with the southbound I 205 ramp.

Normally a land use issue in a nearby neighborhood is of limited interest. The problem in this case is that the land use proposal is in one neighborhood, while the entire proposed traffic mitigation solution is located in another neighborhood. In such a case, the city is not required to notify the second neighborhood, as Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) was not notified about this part of the otherwise worthy Colwood proposal.

On June 26, I (Scott, SAN chair) filed comments about the onramp portion of the land use proposal (350K PDF). On July 23, the rezone applicant, the nonprofit group Trust for Public Lands, filed a response (2 MB).

Thanks to the applicant in correcting one point I made in my comments. The onramp is in the list of regional transportation plan projects (XLS), although it is not in the RTP itself (40 MB PDF).

For more background, see the previous item published in June when we first learned about this traffic mitigation plan.

Under a deadline to file for a conditional use permit or face daily fines, Water Truck Service (WTS) decided to pull the plug. On Nov 30, WTS notified the city and SAN that they would stop trucking and disposing septage — human waste from septic tanks — at their site at NE 89th and Killingsworth on Dec 2.

Instead, WTS said they would limit their activity to processing ‘leachate,’ which is runoff from landfills. Activity has ramped down sharply, but even so some nearby residents have reported noise and garbage odors since Dec 2 when WTS is active.

WTS wide shot
Caption: A short truck backed into a pumping bay at WTS, as viewed from NE 89th in June 2011

On Feb 1, new WTS site manager Jamie Hartley, called to request that his number be shared with all our neighbors, so everyone can contact him with concerns, questions and complaints. His number will be included in winter 2012 newsletter coming out in the next week or two.

WTS is based in Sherwood. They opened here in spring 2010. Noise and chronic odor issues — nuisances under city code — were noted by neighbors from early on. Two residents asked SAN for help at our June 2011 meeting. WTS was fined on Aug 27 for violation of land use laws, and completed a conference with the city on Oct 20 in preparation for the required conditional use permit. The tough compliance requirements for the permit — including traffic, setbacks, noise, odor and enclosed space for loading and unloading waste — led to the decision by WTS on Nov 30 to stop pumping septage in Sumner.

Despite these big positive steps, homework remains to see if leachate is also considered ‘waste-related’ under the city zoning code. Any waste-related use at the site requires the same conditional use permit.

For more background, see:

For a video report by local TV reporter Ed Teachout on KGW, see their report.

Here is a summary of meeting notes taken by Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) at a pre-application conference between septic pumper Water Truck Service (WTS) and the city Bureau of Development Services (BDS) on October 20, 2011.

As explained in this previous article, WTS is operating a wastewater processing and disposal facility at 8828 NE Killingsworth — the corner of NE 89th and NE Killingsworth — without the required conditional use permit for waste-related use as specified by city code 33.140.100.

You can also download the official BDS meeting summary (PDF).

Short Summary

  • WTS owner Bob Jonas & his attorney David Nepom said they hired some high-powered transnational sewer conglomerateVeolia Services — to devise their odor containment strategy.
  • BDS told Bob and David explicitly that WTS would need ‘adjustments’ for — that is, exceptions from — 4 or 5 elements required under the ‘waste-related use’ section of the city land use code. They would also have to justify those adjustments as being as good as or better than meeting the actual requirements.
  • Normally, an applicant would have 1 full year from a pre-app conference until they must submit their CU plan. Because they are ‘under enforcement,’ WTS get only 60 days from the meeting on 20 Oct 2011 to submit a plan.

WTS at NE 89th and NE Killingsworth

Caption: WTS at NE 89th and NE Killingsworth

Longer Summary

We met at 10:30 AM this morning and Allison from CNN was there. There were introductions all around and WTS owner Bob Jonas was there with his attorney, David Nepom. There was an array of city officials (BES, PBOT, BDS, etc) listed on the agenda, and they even had a slot for us to speak at the end.

Bob & David mentioned hiring some high-powered transnational sewer conglomerate to devise their odor containment strategy. That seemed to be the core of what they knew they were going to do.

Most of the meeting, however, involved the city officials from each bureau taking turns stating what they require — some as part of basic conditional use (CU) requirements, some as part of the waste-related CU requirements — for CU permit plan. It was deep. Traffic impact, enviro impact, nuisance mitigation, etc.

A BDS rep named Sheila walked through all the specifics for land use and even stated explicitly, one by one, that WTS would need ‘adjustments’ for 4 or 5 elements required under the ‘waste-related use’ section of the city land use code 33.254 — because they physically cannot do them at the 8828 NE Killingsworth site. Specifically:

  • Traffic access from a ‘major street’ as designated in the city transportation plan
  • Enclosed space for loading and unloading
  • 100-foot setbacks
  • Screening and landscaping in setback area

When I spoke, I told them about the impact of the odor (health, shut windows, etc) and how far the odor ranges now that the wind has shifted with the season. But I also said, on a more basic level, that the ‘wholesale’ need for adjustments — something like 5 out of 10 points — indicate that the site ‘simply isn’t suitable’ for this kind of work.

Bottom line: Normally, an applicant would have 1 full year from a pre-app conference until they must submit their CU plan. Because they are ‘under enforcement,’ WTS get only 60 days from the meeting on 20 Oct 2011 to submit a plan.

Timeline After that, you can see the timeline — with the CU application submission listed as ‘Day One’ — on the BDS Type III Conditional Land Use Review (PDF). When WTS submits a plan, BDS gets 21 days to determine whether it’s complete. If it is, they will do two things (1) set a date with a hearings officer — about 50 days out — for a public hearing on the CU application and (2) notify the neighborhood association, business assn, and property owners within 400 feet requesting comments on the application. But we’ll notify everyone we can and anyone can comment.

About 10 days before the public hearing, BDS staff will make a recommendation — up or down — on the plan & notify the applicant of that recommendation. We probably get notified, but either way the recommendation will be public record.

Approximate (!) dates:

  • Dec 19 – WTS submits CU application
  • Jan 9 – BDS determines whether the application is complete. If so, neighbors are notified, public comment period begins, and a hearing date is set about 50 days later.
  • Feb 20 – BDS staff makes a recommendation on the application
  • Mar 2 – Public hearing in front of a hearings officer. Public can make direct comments at the hearing. Decision can be rendered on the spot or sent out within 17 days.
  • Mar 19 – Decision mailed out, 14-day appeal period begins.
  • Apr 2 – 14-day appeal period ends. Any appeal goes to the Portland city council. It’s not clear how soon they’d need to hear & decide after this date.

Here are the (overdue) meeting notes from our September 2011 meeting, as recorded by Erica, the secretary for Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN).

Note: Any scorn for the tardiness of posting these notes should be heaped on Scott, not Erica. 😉

Report from Portland Police Officer Eric Zajac:
Presented offense report from past 30 days- car prowls and car theft on slight rise around Portland area.

Neighbors brought to the officers attention, suspicious activity in the vicinity of 90th and Going street.(Suspected drug dealing activity, littering, etc.) Officer Eric mentioned that more patrols could be requested. Scott has invited Mark Wells, Community Policing Officer to November’s meeting-It is possible to bring back the Neighborhood watch program- More to be discussed at the November meeting.

Guest Speakers: Regarding the WTS Situation/Update-Discussion Notes

Eric DeBerry, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES):

  • Better described BES responsibilities and how they are handling the WTS issue – how BES is overseen by DEQ and ultimately odor calls should be handled by DEQ- Emerson St. Neighbors did not feel DEQ did a thorough job of inspecting the odor at WTS.
  • WTS processes oily waste water and “septage” at this site.
  • Neighbors questioned the “chemical” spray WTS is using. It is unknown what is “chemically” being sprayed in truck bays- most likely something like Industrial “Febreeze” to cover odor. Eric stated he would try to find out what was being sprayed? (MSDS)
  • A question was brought to the floor: “Was WTS being compliant or were they “hedging”? Eric said there was no room for hedging-if WTS is unsuccessful with CU permit/odor mitigation-they would not be allowed to operate.

Michael Lefield, Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS):

  • This is a zoning/land use issue
  • Explained process in obtaining a Conditional Use permit: > WTS> Land Use review> applicant to prove to Code hearing officer odor, litter, Noise level impacts > Community comment> BDS> Code hearing officer hears BDS recommendations> Goes to City Council
  • Question: Did BDS need evidence of WTS’s operations? No, Already in violation of CUR
  • Addressed the question of the 100 ft. set back rule- WTS can ask for a variance/adjustment.
  • Our remedy for this issue is Conditional Land Use Review.
  • Made recommendations on how the NA can be effective during this process. Have Patience –this issue has a majority of BDS resources/ person power focus-but a time line is in place; have information ready (commended neighbors for being informed), be factual.

SAN wants to thank Michael and Eric for attending our neighborhood meeting, looking people the eye, and answering some very tough and specific questions from our residents with candor and respect. Special thanks to Eric because this was his first public meeting representing BES in (I believe) 16 years with the agency.

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