MONMOUTH — Another step was taken toward developing the property at the S-curves, known as Ash Creek Station, in Monmouth.

The Monmouth City Council approved vacation for two public rights-of-way: An undeveloped street, Third Street, and an alleyway, in the 1500 block of Monmouth Avenue.

In her report to council on Jan. 8, Community Development Director Suzanne Dufner said the areas were originally created as part of the “Town of Talmadge” plat.

In the early 1900s it was used for Monmouth-Independence Railroad, a line which connected the two towns.

“While it is not necessary to develop Third Street as a public street, in order to facilitate connectivity between the site and adjacent uses, staff will likely recommend the applicant provide a shared driveway connection that includes a pedestrian access within the vacated area at the time of design review,” Dufner said in her staff report.

There were no public comments in favor or against the action, but Paul Beals, of White Oak Construction, of Salem, spoke during the hearing.

“I’m an employee of White Oak Construction and I’m representing Jack Fox, the owner of the property, tonight as he is out of town,” Beals said. “We are in agreement with everything, regarding the staff report, but we do have a slight bit of concern over one area that is recommended.”

Beals said they have presented several versions of development plans and have been working closely with city staff.

“They’re fantastic to work with,” Beals said. “We think we have a plan that’s really going to serve Monmouth well in the future, and I’d like to say that I’m excited for Monmouth to have its own commercial area that will be a place for your citizens to come and enjoy and provide the services they need locally, so they’re not needing to go too far away to enjoy those services.”

Beals expressed concern with city staff’s likely recommendation “regarding connecting out at Third Street and connecting a pedestrian path behind the commercial development.”

Monmouth City Attorney Lane Shetterly said that issue would come up later during site review and recommended that council delay that conversation since it does not pertain to vacation of the area.

Fox, of Salem, purchased the property in 1999.

Based on Monmouth city planning approvals on file, there were two previous attempts to develop the property, Dufner said.

“The initial application for development was approved by the city in 2001,” she said. “The approved plan was then modified in 2006 to account for changes related to the highway improvements. Hopefully this, the third time, will be the charm.”

One of the obstacles, road improvements required by the Oregon Department of Transportation, was resolved years ago.

Another obstacle has been more recently resolved.

“It’s been an anchor tenant issue,” said Marian Fitts, the property’s listing agent. “We had a couple of them and then they fell through.”

Fitts said there will be some activity at the property in June.

“That’s all I can say at this point,” she said. “This is the year something is finally going to happen.”

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