Proposed Housing Irks Laurel Hill Neighbors

The city of Eugene is reviewing plans to build multi-story apartment complexes in east Eugene’s Laurel Hill neighborhood, but people who call this area home are none too happy about the proposal and have let their voices be heard. During a recent meeting held by the Laurel Ridge PUD (Planned Unit Development) Response Committee, Jan Wostmann of the Laurel Hill Valley Citizens led a discussion on the steps necessary to deter this possible development, citing its effects on current residents and the environment.

“The biggest concern that you will hear from people who live close to this proposed PUD is that the multi-family dwellings, so basically apartment buildings, that are being proposed are right on their doorstep,” Wostmann says.

The Laurel Hill neighborhood is heavily forested, which means an abundance of wildlife is part of its charm. This is one of the reasons why the response committee believes this isn’t the right region for this PUD. Downtown Eugene is where apartment buildings of this magnitude belong, they say.

The proposed apartment complexes are three- and four-stories high, approximately 608 residential units spread over 126 acres. Much of the density would be on the west side of the parcel, nearest rural neighborhoods that include Laurel Hill.

Laurel Hill Valley Citizens is in the process of planning a comprehensive response to the PUD application that was submitted to the city’s Planning and Developing Department by planner Steve Ochs in August. The city of Eugene doesn’t have final say in the matter; a hearings official who isn’t a city employee does.

One of the developers who attended the Laurel Ridge Response Committee’s Feb. 7 meeting said they are willing to discuss the proposal.

“Hopefully at some point we will be able to sit down with the developer and they will modify their proposal to something that the neighborhood can live with,” Wostmann says. “It doesn’t happen often, but it has been known to happen where there are developers who would rather compromise with the neighborhood than go through a fight about the approval process.”

More meetings held by the response committee are expected, with dates and times to be determined. For more information, visit