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Hales Suspends Permit on Division Street Apartments

Mayor Charlie Hales is responding to pressure over a controversial 81-unit apartment complex on Southeast Division Street, forcing the developer to apply for a new permit next month.

The apartment complex has drawn fire from neighbors since last summer because of its size and lack of on-site parking.

Two days ago, the city announced it was reviewing a revised permit for the half-completed building without public input, even though officials had said neighbors would have some say over the apartments.

This afternoon, Hales says Beaverton-based developer Dennis Sackhoff will have to submit a new permit application, and cannot apply until April 11.

"The city strives for fairness and doesn't always get it on the first shot," Hales said Thursday. "That's why I'm taking this action. The city did a disservice by not providing clear answers to the neighbors over the last month. The neighbors acted in good faith."

Hales has also moved up a public hearing on new city rules requiring on-site parking at large apartment complexes. That hearing is now scheduled for April 4.

The Division Street project is currently under a stop-work order, after the state Land Use Board of Appeals in February rejected the project—not based on its lack of parking, but on a technicality: The apartment building lacks an entrance on Division Street, which violates city codes.

But on Tuesday, the Bureau of Development Services announced it was reviewing a revised permit application—without telling City Council or neighbors.

That decision, made in collaboration with several of Hales' staffers, was immediately met by anger from neighbors and City Council.

City Commissioner Nick Fish told WW on Wednesday he was "outraged." Commissioner Steve Novick today wrote an email to Bureau of Development Services Director Paul Scarlett and Hales' policy director Ed McNamara, calling the decision "inexplicable and indefensible."

"Ed, you and I go back a long way and I love ya," Novick wrote, "but this situation is (to use a genteel phrasing) messed up six ways to Sunday."