City & Government, Springfield

Springfield tax lot talk piques citizen interest, concerns

SPRINGFIELD – The council chambers were packed earlier this week with at least 75 people in attendance, most of whom were there to participate in the public hearings.

Although there were four public hearings on the agenda, the majority of community engagement was on the potential annexation of 2.34 acres of residential property located at 3333 Pheasant Blvd., including two tax lots in northwest Springfield and the public right-of-way for about 230 ft. of Game Farm Road and about 135 ft. of Pheasant Blvd.

According to senior planner Tom Sievers, “the applicant is the property owner, and they have requested annexation to receive City services to facilitate a future residential subdivision.”

City staff are recommending council approve this annexation because the property complies with the standards and provisions of the Springfield development code. But over 20 community members advised council to not approve this annexation for a variety of reasons, such as:

• Nearby homeowners’ property value may decrease.

• This annexation may lead to a domino effect of the neighboring areas being forcibly annexed.

• Construction will cause a “dust bowl” that nearby residents will have to breathe.

• Buses for multiple school systems – Eugene School District 4J and Springfield Public Schools – will create traffic congestion.

• There will be an increase in noise and light pollution, which would starkly contrast the neighborhood’s current, quiet atmosphere.

• Environmental concerns – like the unknown, unstudied toxins in the soil – have not been assessed.

• There is a possible fire hazard to consider because development may hinder emergency vehicles from accessing the area.

• Residents would lose a sense of privacy because the potential development would give new residents a perfect view of their backyards.

• The proposed development could lead to more traffic accidents.

“Trying to shoehorn a multi-housing development into this small and linear piece of land is like wearing a narrow shoe. No matter how hard you try to make it fit, it’s going to hurt,” said Bill Kunerth, Springfield resident. “In this case, it’s going to hurt a lot.

“In my career and lifetime, we like to say that a good deal is a win/win. If this annexation goes through, the development goes through, it’s only a win for the developers. It’s not a win/win for everybody, so is it worth it?”

After the hour of public testimony on this annexation came to a close, John Schmidt, landscape architect and principal with The Satre Group, addressed some concerns on behalf of the applicant, stating:

The applicant has discussed how the development can move forward with expertise from Springfield Utility Board and emergency services.

Ideally, each unit would be on its own lot, would not be an apartment or over two stories, and would have garages to keep the influx of vehicles off the street.

While there may not be a requirement for neighborhood meetings, Schmidt thinks they would lead to a beneficial exchange of knowledge.

Schmidt did admit to consistently referring to this project as a “challenge” and that not all logistical elements have been figured out yet, though.

“We don’t have anything designed, but we’re trying to understand this to say, ‘Is this challenge a surmountable project?’” he said.

City staff will address all comments and questions made during the public hearing June 3 in the agenda packet for the June 17 meeting since council will deliberate and make a decision on this annexation then.



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