MidOregon Credit Union is preparing for a move across town to a site between N. Arrowleaf Trail and Highway 20, across from the Ray’s Food Place parking lot.

The Planning Commission, with a vote of 5-2, approved a review of MidOregon’s site plan and conditional use request for a 3,206-square-foot building with a drive-through and supporting infrastructure, as well as a shared 23-space parking lot.

The property is 0.78 of an acre and is currently vacant. The site and surrounding properties to the west, east, and south are all zoned Highway Commercial and contain a mix of uses including Ray’s, McDonald’s restaurant, St. Charles medical office, and Mainline Station. To the northeast across Highway 20 is the Best Western Ponderosa Lodge.

The commissioners’ main areas of discussion centered around safety and function of the drive-through and whether the proposed rendering of the building adhered strongly enough to the required 1880’s Western theme.

The City staff had recommended approval, with conditions, of the requested site plan and conditional use proposal, saying it satisfies the approval criteria. Five of the commissioners agreed; two thought the proposed exterior design was too contemporary. During their deliberations, five of the commissioners urged stronger adherence to the 1880s Western theme but three of those five were willing to accept the proposed site plan.

Commissioner Scot Davidson thought the site plan was great and remarked, “MidOregon is a great contributor to the community.” He expressed concern about the requirements for maintaining the Western theme is too vague.

“The 1880s Western theme represents the brand or character of our town and should be maintained,” said Davidson and he urged the architect to work more on the design.

Commissioner Art Blumenkron thought the tall wraparound windows in the rendering looked too modern. MidOregon representative Kevin Cole pointed out that banks located along main highways are more prone to be robbed and the large windows provide more visibility to see what is going on both inside and outside the building.

Darek Olson of Steele Associates stated, “The design meets the intent of the Western theme with covered walkways, lap siding, benches, parapets, and a plaza out front with Western artwork.”

They wanted to provide the 1880s feel while still offering a modern look on the inside.

Concerns about the safety and function of the drive-through were addressed and satisfied. Staff explained that the rendering is only a concept and not the finished blueprint and elevations. The site plan basically designates placement of the building, landscaping, and parking on the property.

Staff attached 23 conditions of approval that must be met prior to either issuance of a building permit or certificate of occupancy unless otherwise stated within each Condition of Approval. Most of the conditions address issues required by the Fire Marshal and Oregon Fire Code, landscaping requirements, outdoor lighting compliance, and public works requirements (water meters, site drainage, drywells, public improvements, utilities, etc.).

Prior to or at the time of building permit application, the applicant will provide final exterior building materials and colors to ensure compliance with the submitted elevations and Western design theme requirements.

A variety of pine, deciduous, and street trees must be planted.

A shared access easement off of Arrowleaf Trail will serve both MidOregon and the St. Charles medical office. There will be 23 parking spaces, 12 of them to be shared between the two offices.

Site preparation work on the property is underway.