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Sensitive Lands issues hinder annexation request

City Council to discuss whether to allow annexation of 1.73-acre property on Goodall Road


A property owner's request to annex just under two acres on Goodall Road to the City of Lake Oswego should be rejected, a city staff report recommends.

The 1.73-acre parcel at 14061 Goodall Road is currently the site of a vacant single-family residence in the Forest Highlands neighborhood, lying just outside the limits of incorporated Lake Oswego. Owner Eugene Labunsky wants to annex it to Lake Oswego proper, which would allow him access to city sewer services.

The property would no longer fall within the Clackamas County Enhanced Sheriff’s District or Lake Grove Fire District #57, but it would remain in the Lake Grove Park District.

According to the application, Labunsky is looking to develop the parcel, and the city agrees it could be divided into as many as seven separate lots and still be compliant with Sensitive Lands regulations.

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 on July 24 to give ownership of Goodall and Knaus roads to Lake Oswego, but the question of whether the city should annex Labunsky's property is a complicated one.

“It's a natural resources protection issue,” said Scot Siegel, the city's planning and building services director.

The city identified two Sensitive Lands resources at 14061 Goodall Road: a Resource Protection District for a stream corridor that is part of Nettle Creek, and a Resource Conservation District for a tree grove. That makes tree removal tricky, even though the city found that Labunsky has already removed about 91 trees from the property in the nine years he has owned the tax lot.

From a developer’s perspective, the removals make sense. And it makes sense to do them prior to annexation, before any tree grove protections would apply.

Unfortunately, this tactic is so common that in 2004, the city implemented Resolution 4-38: Policies Discouraging Destruction of Trees and Natural Resources Prior to Annexation. The resolution requires that any property owner seeking annexation, but who removed or devalued natural resources on the property, must create a mitigation plan and put it into action for three years before the property is eligible for annexation.

At the property on Goodall Road, the city found that “the extent of development on the site has significantly degraded the functions and values of the natural resources, in clear violation of the policies contained in the resolution.”

The city says Labunsky “repeatedly, knowingly and willfully ignored the provisions of the resolution” and recommends that City Council deny the annexation application. "The applicant has shown no interest in restoring the property or working with the city to develop a mitigation plan,” the staff report says.

Labunsky declined to comment.

An annexation hearing with the City Council was scheduled for July 29, but was delayed until the council’s Sept. 2 session at the applicant’s request.



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