Panel approves Croman plan

The Planning Commission approved the city's Croman Mill plan Tuesday, but the two dissenters are crafting a minority report to give to the City Council in April.

The 6-2 vote brings to a close a two-year process, during which the commission labored over how to rezone the Croman plot, the largest piece of undeveloped land in the city.

The commission divided the vote into five parts, and Commission Vice Chairman Michael Dawkins and Commissioner Melanie Mindlin dissented at each step.

"I'm pissed," Dawkins said after the final vote was cast. "If we're going to change the land to a higher design standard, we're going to price out all the people we want out there."

The plan calls for rezoning the privately owned land to allow for offices, shops, low-key manufacturing plants, condos and a park.

Developments would have to adhere to certain standards designed to increase sustainability and conserve natural resources.

Commission Chairwoman Pam Marsh said she voted for the plan because she wants the city to have more control over development on the land.

"I think development is going to take place on the site and, without a plan, it has the potential to happen in a scattered, chaotic fashion," she said. "It just seems a lot better to have a plan."

Mindlin already has begun working on the minority report and has received feedback from Dawkins, she said. They plan to submit the report at the commission's March 9 meeting, and then forward it to the City Council, along with the commission's majority recommendations.

The commission typically does not allow dissenters to craft minority reports, but decided to permit it in this instance because the city did not record all of the comments Dawkins and Mindlin made in past meetings.

"We do not have verbatim minutes and only half of our meetings are televised," Marsh said. "I think we should allow it, but it should be a very unusual circumstance."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or

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