The details on the environmental assessment itself don't look that interesting. Because, "duh."
There's lots of icky stuff and unknown stuff there, and no one should be surprised the process is taking longer and costs could be greater. (But one can wish that folks would start these processes more "pessimistically," and increase the odds of underpromising and overperforming instead of overpromising and underperforming.)
The Original Purchase and Sale Agreement from January 2014 had a fair bit of TBD detail in Section 6.4:
|Old section 6.4 proposed to be deleted.|
This Amended Purchase and Sale Agreement now starts to fill in some of those details:
|New language for Section 6.4 (clip 1 of 2)|
|New lanugage for Section 6.4 (clip 2 of 2)|
One thing that is interesting - I don't know enough to say whether this is bad, unexpected, or entirely routine - is that despite all the subsidies in the overall project for the developer, a lot of the cost for the path connection seems to fall onto the City:
- A 20-foot wide easement on the north bank of the creek from Commercial Street to just beyond the railroad and the park. This would cost $9.00 per square foot.
- The City will conduct at its expense an "engineering analysis of the slab and Reservoir" over which the easement would pass.
- As a result of the engineering study, and additional memorandum of understanding will be necessary to apportion further obligations, responsibilities, and costs.
I don't think there's enough information here for us to say this is good or bad. I read it instead as a moment in the on-going and still-dynamic negotiation between City and developer, and not therefore something we should freeze and then rush to praise or criticize.
Council meets earlier than usual, at 5:15pm, and there is only this one item on the agenda. It truly is a "special session"!
the first decision came down from LUBA, and it was not good. (Update - here's the decision posted to LUBA, where it is easier to read and download.)
The matters in dispute were distilled to five possible "assignments of error" and LUBA decided for the City on every one of them.
On several that were classified as a "substantial evidence challenge," LUBA noted:
In reviewing a substantial evidence challenge, LUBA's role is not to reweigh the evidence, but rather to determine if a reasonable person, viewing the whole record, could reach the conclusion that the decision maker reached.This is disappointing. Naively, it turns out, at least some of us on the sidelines expected LUBA would do something like "reweighing" the evidence and find deficient the case articulated by the City and Hospital.
But apparently all LUBA has to do is look at the body of evidence provided by the City and say, "Oh, that looks plausible." THEREFORE: "The first assignment of error is denied." BAM. (etc)
So then. Much of the appeal was dismissed on rather technical grounds than on the merits. We critics say, "the Hospital didn't try very hard at all," and they say, "the Hospital tried hard enough. Good-bye."
It looks like an additional appeal on the demolition would be difficult. I suspect it's case closed now on this. Sad.
Update, Wednesday, January 7th
Beverly Rushing has filed a notice of intent to appeal LUBA's decision to allow Howard Hall to go down. Her story: http://t.co/zwkCU1iT9UIt'll be interesting to learn more about the grounds for the appeal. It would seem necessary to find a path to "reweighing" the evidence, but an appellate review here doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would do that.
— Saerom Yoo (@syoo) January 7, 2015