The site of the proposed Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center in South Salem pictured September 2018. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)

The fate of a proposed Costco-anchored shopping center in south Salem will be decided a little bit later than previously thought.

Three neighbors in the South Gateway Neighborhood Association announced Wednesday they are now asking the Oregon Court of Appeals to weigh-in on the nearly 200,000-square-foot plaza.

Karl Anuta, the neighbors' attorney, said his clients are asking the courts to rule on whether developers are accoutable to a years-old verbal commitment that the project would be a smaller enterprise.

"Then they proposed a big box that's going to draw from the whole region," Anuta told Salem Reporter.

The appeal comes nearly three weeks after the project spilled back into the city of Salem's realm. The council voted the controversial project down in December.

On Aug. 14, the state Land Use Board of Appeals told Salem City Council it must reconsider the project, which includes the Costco, a 36-pump fuel station and five other buildings for more retailers.

The land use board said the city had not properly addressed whether PacTrust has a "vested right" to the property after it spent more than $3 million on nearby road improvements and rezoning the field between Battle Creek Road and 27th Avenue.

That same day, PacTrust Realty filed a suit in federal court seeking nearly $10 million in damages.

No date had been set for Salem City Council to discuss the remand from the land use board.

The appeal, however, effectively stalls that decision for months longer. Anuta said it could be six months before the court hears arguments and renders a decision.

City Attorney Dan Atchison said in an email that the city won't take any action until after the appeals court's decision.

"We have no comment on the petition. The filing will delay any city action on the issues raised by LUBA in their remand until the petition to the court of appeals is decided," he said.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, troy@salemreporter.com or @TroyWB.