Salem approves Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center with conditions

A view over the intersection of Battle Creek Road Southeast and Kuebler Boulevard, near where the Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center is proposed. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)

Salem city planners on Tuesday approved a plan to build a nearly 200,000-square-foot shopping center along Kuebler Boulevard, but with a bevy of conditions.

The Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center will be anchored by a Costco Wholesale and include a fueling station and five shell buildings intended for more retailers.

In a 34-page document outlining its decision, the city said the project must meet at least 17 conditions. The conditions tell PacTrust Realty Group, the Portland firm proposing the project, to include pedestrian pathways, more landscaping, bumper guards in the parking lot, bicycle parking and more.

One condition asks that at least 16 Oregon white oaks are “incorporated into the landscape design for the shopping center.” Neighbors had worried construction would chop down existing Oregon white oaks, which Salem city code deems “significant.”

Located at 27th Avenue and Battle Creek Road, neighbors in the area have also voiced concerns that the project will ramp up traffic through their streets.

Neighbors or the developer can appeal the decision to the city. If so, a final decision will be made by either a hearings officer or Salem City Council, if it chooses to intervene.

Glenn Baly, chairman of the South Gateway Neighborhood Association, said Tuesday afternoon that he and other neighbors will review the decision first.

“We’re going to review and then we’ll make a decision on whether we want to appeal based on their decision and on their comments,” Baly said.

The city of Salem has accounted for an appeal. On Oct. 15, city planners asked for more time from PacTrust Realty Group for a final decision to be made.

City planner Aaron Panko said the extension pushes the deadline for a final decision from Jan. 2 to Feb. 1, 2019. Looking at the calendar, he said, if an appeal were filed they would need the extra time and they did not want to rush.

The city received about 123 comments from the public about the project, according to city officials. Seventy-nine voiced concerns or objections, 25 supported the project and the balance was neutral.

Councilor Steve McCoid, whose ward encompasses the project, declined to comment.

A shopping center has long been proposed at the site. PacTrust moved to rezone of the 18-acre property for such a development in 2006.

Since the rezoning, PacTrust has helped pay to improve roads in the area. Keubler Boulevard was widened from Commercial Street east to Interstate 5 in 2016. Turn lanes were added to Kuebler Boulevard’s intersections with 27th Avenue and Battle Creek Road, as well as the intersection of Battle Creek Road and Boone Road.

Salem planners said in the latest decision that a traffic signal and more turn lanes still need to be added to the intersection of Battle Creek Road and Boone Road Southeast.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, [email protected] or @TroyWB.