A real estate developer will pay $260,000 to avoid further litigation in an appeals case filed by a former Oregon official who objected to a 230-unit apartment facility currently being constructed by the developer in downtown Eugene. The man's primary concern with the project was related to its impact on traffic for the city and 10-year tax exemption granted to the development by the Eugene City Council.
The plaintiff's attorney said his client was happy to settle the civil appeals issue and is pleased with the developer's apparent "support of neighborhoods" in the area of the project site. He added that he hopes officials with the city will better represent the interests of surrounding neighborhoods when deciding whether to grant tax exemptions for large-scale developments in the future.
According to the settlement, the developer and the former official found a settlement the best way to avoid the "expense, inconvenience and burden" of potential litigation and properly serve the community. However, some commentators suggested the developer was pressured to settle the dispute by a need to obtain the construction loans it needed to continue work on the apartment building. A representative with the developer partially confirmed these theories, explaining that the settlement is expected to make "financing more achievable."
While most of the $260,000 settlement will go into an account controlled by the former official, it may only be used for studies and other efforts designed to improve the development's community impact. For instance, the plaintiff has proposed using the money to fund initiatives aimed at reducing traffic in the area, making it more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrian and managing noise and dust from the project's construction. Other proposed uses of the settlement fund include air conditioning and filtering equipment designed to help disabled and elderly neighbors and subsidies for parking leases. However, the settlement stipulates that the money cannot be used to interfere the with the apartment building's completion.
Source: Register Guard, "Capstone settles appeal over apartments," Edward Russo, Jan. 4, 2012