The site of the proposed Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center in South Salem. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)

A sprawling shopping center on Kuebler Boulevard, anchored by a Costco Wholesale, will likely go back before Salem City Council.

The State Land Use Board of Appeals on Wednesday remanded the council's decision from December, when council denied the shopping center for misrepresenting its size and using what neighbors called a flawed traffic analysis, among other things.

Salem attorney Karl Anuta, who represented three neighbors fighting the shopping center, said Wednesday afternoon he had not read the entire decision yet. He said he and his clients may still appeal the agency's findings.

"We have a right to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals," he said.


City councilors reached Wednesday declined to comment, saying they were prohibited from commenting on open land-use decisions.

The decision comes after months of conflict between PacTrust Realty, a Portland developer seeking to build a nearly 200,000-square-foot shopping center on a vacant lot in south Salem, and nearby residents.

If ever built, the Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center would include the Costco, a fueling station and five other buildings intended for more retailers.

Salem's planning commission approved the project last October with 17 conditions intended to address neighbors' concerns. Those included requiring pedestrian pathways, more landscaping, bumper guards in the parking lot and bicycle parking.

READ: Salem approves Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center with conditions

The South Gateway Neighborhood Association, and the three neighbors represented by Anuta, appealed that decision in November, citing concerns over traffic and the removal of white oak trees.

A shopping center has been planned for the site between Battle Creek Road and 27th Avenue for years. PacTrust obtained a rezoning in 2006 to allow for development.

Neighbors argued the project since then has grown beyond the shopping center originally envisioned by including a big-box retailer and gas station. 

The city council ultimately voted against the project 5-3 following a heated Dec. 11 meeting with more than three hours of public testimony.

READ: Neighbors prevail over Costco after years-long push for south Salem project

That vote prompted PacTrust to appeal to the state board.

Wendie Kellington, an attorney representing PacTrust, told the council in December the company had already spent more than $3 million improving roads near the site in anticipation of development.

Either side may appeal the board’s decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals within 21 days.

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