Wednesday, September 4, 2013
MONMOUTH -- After a month of testimony and rebuttals, Marr Bros. Bark won a small victory at the Monmouth City Council meeting Sept. 3.The council approved Marr Bros. Bark's request to rezone a 7.46 acre portion of the northernmost part of the company's property from low density residential to industrial.Though it was a preliminary decision, Marr Bros. could be on its way to expanding its consumer retail operation at 875 Pacific Highway (99W), something the company has tried to do for more than a year."They (Marr Bros.) were relieved that the city looked at the changes they made to the application," said Wallace Lien, the attorney representing the company through the process. "There's not any jumping up and down or celebrating because there's so much more left to do."A final decision from the council won't be made until at least its Oct. 1 meeting, after which there is a 21-day appeal process.From there, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals is likely to get involved, which could upend the entire process or simply be a bump in the road.Residents of the Edwards Addition subdivision, developed by Olsen Design and Development, have been the major opponents to the company's rezoning request throughout the process.The development butts up against the eastern edge of the Marr Bros. property and in some spots is fewer than 500 feet from the processing area.There are still plenty of variables left to be decided and neither party is certain where this issue will go or when it will end."Developers' number one concern is uncertainty. This has cast a huge amount of uncertainty on the property that's adjacent to us," Eric Olsen, developer of Edwards Addition, said. "How council refines the decision will have a huge impact on how we proceed. It's impossible at this point to analyze it because there's not enough information in."Councilors deliberated for the better part of two hours at the Sept. 3 meeting with questions mostly centering on how Marr Bros. fits into the surrounding neighborhood and exactly what that neighborhood is.Eventually deciding that the Highway 99W corridor had changed significantly enough to warrant a need to amend the city's comprehensive plan map, councilors voted 5-to-1 in favor of approving the application.Councilor Cec Koontz was the only "nay" vote.Even with the council's decision swaying in favor of Marr Bros., Lien is keeping an optimistic yet realistic approach to the final outcome."There's a lot of steps before it's done, but this is a positive first step," he said. "In any land-use case you're always worried. You never feel safe."