Photo by Jolene Guzman
The Falls City Planning Commission approved a zone change from public assembly-institutional to commercial residential for a former church property.
As of Wednesday, August 22, 2018
FALLS CITY — The Falls City City Council, acting as the planning commission, approved moving forward with a zoning and comprehensive plan map amendment at 401 Lombard St.
The change would allow the property, now an unused church and school, to be converted into commercial or residential uses, or a combination of the two.
Current owner Oregon Conference Education Association requested the zone change from public assembly-institutional to commercial-residential to make the property more attractive to potential buyers. Under public assembly-institutional, the property can be used for a library, cemetery, church, public or private school, fire station, city hall, sewer facility, or a public park.
Donna Graham, a real estate agent with Windermere, said on behalf of the owner that changing the zone would allow the property to be redeveloped.
“They are not in need of this anymore,” she said. “I think it would be an asset to the city to zone change it and get some more funds.”
Laura Britton, who owns property across the street from the former church and school, said she’s concerned about potential uses for the property. She said she would be supportive of a change to simply residential.
“I have small house with a longterm tenant who just had a baby. Directly behind us, we are already being overwhelmed with an illegal farm,” Britton said. “I would have to wonder what is going to happen across the street from me as well.”
Commissioner Jenn Drill asked why the applicant had not just asked for residential.
Graham said commercial-residential was a recommendation from former city manager Terry Ungricht because it is a better fit with the surrounding neighborhood.