Planners grant WSLRT extension

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

At the request of Managing Trustee Dan Desler, the Sweet Home Planning Commission agreed to a two-year extension on the deadline to complete the first phase of a 434-lot Western States Land Reliance Trust subdivision.

“The state of the housing market and economic situation has taken a turn for the worst the last several months,” Desler said. “Due to market conditions, we will again be asking the planning commission for an extension of our preliminary approval and timeline for build out.”

The first 60 lots have been engineered, Desler told the commission Monday night. “We were prepared to do it and felt we could move the 60 units, but the market shifted so dramatically.

“What we’ve done is gone into a holding pattern much like Troy Cummins and the other side of this master plan.”

The Santiam Master Plan covers 750 acres along the north side of Sweet Home and the south shore of the South Santiam River. It has approval for up to 1,575 units. WSLRT, a nonprofit corporation, owns and is developing property to the west of Clark Mill Road.

Santiam River Development owns and is developing to the east. The master plan includes a commercial area, hotels and a variety of other proposed attractions.

Cummins and Santiam River Development previously received a two-year extension from the commission for similar reasons.

Desler was optimistic after seeing the stock market’s performance last week, he said.

“But you look at today’s stock market crash, and you wonder if we are there yet.”

The project is ready to move forward, he said. A professional design team is in place, but “we’re all sitting on our thumbs waiting for this economy so we can go to work. I want to get this project going, but I don’t want to make a mistake.”

An extension to 2010 for the project would be consistent with the extension given the Santiam River Development side of the plan, he said.

On Dec. 6, 2007, the commission approved a one-year extension, with the first phase to be complete by Jan. 8, 2009 and the final three phases complete by Jan. 8, 2011.

The Planning Commission agreed and granted a two-year extension 6-0, including provisions for extensions of the final three phases by two years.

Present at the meeting were commissioners Greg Stephens, Al Culver, attorney Mike Adams, Dick Meyers, Henry Wolthuis and Frank Javersak. Lance Gatchell was absent.

The commission also held a public hearing and approved the vacation of a portion of Grape Street located west of 12th Avenue. The vacated street area is unimproved and has no public infrastructure. The land reverts to the property from which it came.