Oakleigh Cohousing Sent Back For Public Input

The controversial Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) planned unit development off River Road next to the Willamette River will go back for additional public comment following a decision May 15 by the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

Petitioner Simon Trautman, who was injured in a vehicle collision at the corner of Oakleigh and River Road, was originally denied his motion to intervene in the project when it was being appealed before the Eugene Planning Commission. Trautman claimed he was not given adequate notice, even though he was living in Idaho at the time. He had not provided the city with a correct address for notices of the appeal hearing, according to statements from Oakleigh Meadows, but that contention has been disputed.

Trautman, his wife and his mother-in-law were on record as opposing the application and were therefore legally required to be notified by the city, according to LUBA.

Paul Conte, a local neighborhood advocate, joined Trautman in the appeal and said in a prepared statement: “This was a long overdue repudiation of the biased and unfair handling of land use applications by the Eugene city attorney and Planning Division staff. The Court of Appeals and LUBA have now served notice on Eugene that attempts to subvert Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal One — citizen participation — will not be tolerated.”

But local project architect Will Dixon says, “This is the decision that we wanted, given the circumstances.” Dixon says the development will continue along the “scenic route.”

“This is another in a long string of items that has caused us significant delay and cost, but we’re not going anywhere,” Dixon tells EW. “As a group, OMC is now up to 24 full-member households (out of 28) and we’re feeling more committed and dedicated to our development than ever before.”

Neighbors have fought the development and the increased traffic it will bring, with some posting signs saying, “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right,” and “Cohousing OK, 28 units not. Think of others.”

The full LUBA order can be read at http://wkly.ws/20t and detailed information about OMC can be found at oakleighmeadow.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited (see sentence in italics) to source the contention that Trautman had not provided a correct forwarding address.