Planning commissioners to consider SHJH, firehouse projects July 16

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Planning Commission last week opened public hearings for two public remodeling projects and immediately continued them until July 16 because of an error in noticing.

The Sweet Home School District and Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District are seeking conditional use permits respectively for the Sweet Home Junior High remodel and an expansion of the Foster Fire Station.

While increasing the total number of spaces, the district also is seeking a variance from the minimum number of parking spaces for the junior high.

Sweet Home Junior High

The junior high school, 880 22nd Ave., request includes a neighboring property, 706 Mountain View Road, that will be used to create a new bus driveway to separate bus traffic from public and parent traffic.

Improvements include construction of a new gymnasium, office space and a cafeteria. The public will enter the building through a single secure entrance controlled by office staff, and the art and Basic Life Skills classes will move into the main building. Modular buildings housing those classes and the cafe-teria will be demolished.

The project includes improvements to the building’s electrical, HVAC, mechanical and fire suppression systems, and the district will install a slope on the building’s roof to resolve issues with water puddling and leaking through the roof.

The junior high will increase from 53,000 square feet to more than 64,000 square feet on 28.5 acres in the proposed remodel.

According to the application, the improvements would extend the school’s lifespan, improve safety and security and make the school more functional.

It is located in a low-density residential zone, and a conditional use permit is required before the district can proceed.

The district will expand the existing driveway on 22nd Avenue to three lanes, one in and two out. A new driveway will provide access for buses from Mountain View Drive.

Normally, a traffic impact study would be required for a project like this, but since the number of students and staff is not changing, city engineering staff felt it was unnecessary at this time.

The project calls for 16 new parking spaces, a total of 62 spaces. The ordinance requires 210 parking spaces based on the size of the gymnasium, which the district proposed primarily to add to provide space needed to meet state PE requirements, requiring the district to seek a variance from the parking requirement.

The project is funded by a $4 million bond approved by district voters last year. The state matched the bond measure with a $4 million grant. The majority of the $8 million is slated for use in the junior high project. The district also will install secure entrances as well as building infrastructure improvements, such as hot water, at el-mentary schools.

Foster Fire Station

The Fire and Ambulance District request is to remodel the Foster Fire Station, 1390 47th Ave., adding a new vehicle bay door to the structure and constructing second-floor living quarters. The remodel would increase the space available for the storage of apparatus that are already housed at the station and overall storage.

The .36-acre property is in a low-density residential zone, requiring a conditional use permit before the district may proceed. The station was originally permitted in 1982. The property is owned by the city and managed by the district.

The new living quarters would be built to house up to three people, with a small kitchen, living area, full bathroom and two bedrooms.

The new bay would allow the district to more easily store up to three vehicles. At this time, a third vehicle must taken through one of the existing doors into an empty bay while one of the other vehicles waits outside the station.

The project is among several projects and equipment purchases requested in a six-year $1.575 million bond levy approved by voters in May 2016.

According to the Community and Economic Development Department staff report, the expansion of storage would have little impact on the neighborhood and does not trigger a need for a conditional use permit, but the addition of living space may have an impact on the neighborhood because staff may be living on site.

The commission will consider the two applications at 7 p.m. on July 16 in the City Hall annex, located behind City Hall, 1140 12th Ave.

For more information about the permit applications or to submit comments, call the Community and Economic Development Department at (541) 367-8113.

In other business, the commission:

– Elected Henry Wolthuis vice chairman to fill a vacancy left by Anay Hausner, who resigned to resume her college education.

– Began reviewing city ordinance and proposed replacement language governing application review procedures and approval criteria as part of its ongoing code update process.