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Lake County Developments

Umatilla apartment plans get push-back from neighbors

The proposed Fletcher Grove apartments would be 2-story, garden units with a maximum height of 33 feet 8 inches, according to elevations.

Plans for a 116-unit multifamily complex on Fletcher Road in Umatilla have temporarily stalled while the developer tries to work out neighbors’ concerns.

Property owner and developer Fletcher Grove Development, LLC on Tuesday, through civil engineer Tim Schutz, requested the city council table the first reading of an ordinance for a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment that would change the future land use on the property from Medium Density Residential allowing five units per acre to Multifamily High Density, which allows 12 units per acre under a Planned Unit Development zoning.

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The ordinance is now expected to be taken up during the March 7 City Council meeting.

The owner is requesting to change the future land use to multifamily high density, which allows up to 12 units per acre, at the corner of Fletcher Road and E Collins Street. The property is bordered on two sides by a mobile home park, shown in red.

Fletcher Grove Development purchased the vacant property from John E. Ambach and Barbara Ambach in 2021 for $285,000, according to the warranty deed. The company is managed by Agustin Sierra Vargas, who is also president of AV Homes. The heavily wooded property is next door to the Lake County Health Department and abuts a large mobile home park on two sides and one single-family home on Fletcher.

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Attorney Alison M. Yurko represents the developer.

The proposal calls for five buildings on 9.8 acres north of Collins Street and west of Fletcher Road, filled with two-bedroom apartments, each with a net living area of 959 square feet.

The units would be rented at market rate. The project calls for 48% open space with pedestrian access on both paved trails and sidewalks.

“They want to meet with the adjacent property owners, because the plan is not being well-received from the neighborhood,” said Aaron Mercer, the Umatilla director of Development and Public Services.

“There are single-family homes right across the street. We have asked them to see what their concerns are and if they can be mitigated, trying to eliminate people storming city hall. They need to figure out common ground, so people come to the meeting less contentious,” Mercer said.

What the council must determine is if changing the allowable density from medium density to high density fits in with the surrounding property, he said. “They want to go to high density. Medium density is five units per acre and tourist commercial is up to 12 units per acre. It needs to be compatible,” Mercer said. “The city council can vote to deny, approve or approve with conditions.”

The city has dealt with similar issues numerous times, he said. “People move in, and they have woods across the street, then someone buys it and it’s not going to be woods anymore.”

The proposed amenities at Fletcher Grove Villas include a 3,600-square-foot clubhouse, two shade pavilions, a dog park and walking trail.

For now, he said, the adjacent homeowners believe what Fletcher Grove is asking for is too much. “That is the rub, because with high density comes traffic, noise, the typical things people argue about.”

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Schutz did not return phone calls or text messages on whether a meeting with neighbors has been set up yet.

In its application to the city, Fletcher Grove contends that putting the project in a PUD gives it a consistent comprehensive development pattern.

“There is significant attention to buffers, open space and the inclusion of amenities, including a walking trail, dog park and pavilion,” and clubhouse, the application states.

It goes on to say many trees will be saved on the property and a high-end architectural elevation is contemplated. The project is not a significant deviation from what is currently allowed under tourist commercial, the property owner contends, and the proposed development details exceed what would be required, should a mobile home park go on the property.

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