A proposed part-affordable/part-senior citizen apartment complex at 3173 NE West Devils Lake Road got a thumbs-up from the Lincoln City Planning Commission Tuesday evening.
A number of neighbors from up the street complained that the project was inappropriate because there isn’t enough on-site parking for the residents of the 30 proposed units and so they’d be parking their vehicles on NE West Devils Lake Road which they implied would be problematical to the neighborhood including more pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.
The new apartment project would share parking with an “across-the-alley” dental clinic which has agreed to provide apartment parking since their lot is seldom full.
Further arguments in favor of giving the apartments the green light is that five of the units would be devoted exclusively to senior citizens who would enjoy dental services across the parking lot and regular medical care at North Lincoln Hospital a short walk away. And speaking of North Lincoln Hospital, Dr. Leslie Ogden, CEO of North Lincoln and Pacific Communities Hospitals, implored the commissioners to approve the project because, she said, she’ll need more workers in her new hospitals – workers who will find local housing costs way too high. She told the commission that more affordable/workforce housing is vital if her new hospitals are to be fully staffed with workers who are comfortable living in Lincoln City and Newport.
After a lot of back and forth and discussion that was well to the periphery of the debate, the final vote was 5 to 1 to approve the project. The findings of fact and conclusions of law will be drawn up by City Attorney Richard Appicello who will present the final documents to the planning commission at their next meeting, for their formal and final approval.
If the neighbors move to appeal the project to the city council, they are free to do so. So we’ll see what the neighbors decide to do and what the city council comes up with.