Monmouth approves zone change

MONMOUTH — The Monmouth City Council approved on July 17 a zone change application for 32 acres of property off Hoffman Road.

The area, which is south of Hoffman Road between 16th Street and Pacific Highway 99, is zoned low density residential. It was previously zoned for industrial use. Councilor Laurel Sharmer voted no.

Salem-based Frank Walker and Associates submitted the application on Nov. 15, 2017. A hearing was held before the Monmouth Planning Commission on June 20. The commission recommended the council approve it.

At that meeting, five people spoke in opposition, expressing concerns about their well water, according to materials presented at the July 17 council meeting. None spoke in favor.

In the future subdivision application process any existing wells on the subject property would be reviewed, said Suzanne Dufner, Monmouth community development director.

The city also requires a soils engineering report to be completed.

“That will be a requirement on of a future subdivision application and it will have to address any recommendations on preparing the site,” she said.

Councilor Royal Johnson asked who is responsible for wells that become contaminated after construction.

“It’s the property owner that owns the well,” Durfer said. “If they’re contesting a civil matter with another property owner then they raise the issue that way. Wells are complex. They draw from large underground aquifer areas so there’s a lot of factors that go on going into that.”

No audience members spoke in favor of the zone change.

Residents who spoke in opposition had concerns about increased traffic and housing costs, in addition to well water.

“If we are careful and we’re testing our water and discover after the development has already happened that there was a problem, it’s just on us,” said Miriam Haugen. “We have to accept that expense.”

She said that is a potential problem for surrounding property owners.

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