Metro recommends UGB expansions – Daily Journal of Commerce

Metro believes four suburban Portland cities should be granted urban growth boundary expansions.

The regional planning agency’s chief operating officer, Martha Bennett, recommends Beaverton, Hillsboro, King City and Wilsonville be allowed to expand their growth boundaries. The changes would open 2,181 acres in the metro area to development.

The recommendation will go to the Metro Council for discussion at a work session on Tuesday. A vote is likely to follow in December.

Metro is flexing its new ability to expand the UGB outside the usual six-year cycle, after the Oregon Legislature last year changed state land use rules.

UGB expansion decisions typically result in appeals to the Land Conservation and Development Commission and district court. Metro spokesman Nick Christensen said he could not recall the previous UGB expansion decision that did not result in an appeal.

Bennett recommended boundary expansions for all four communities that requested them. (Sherwood withdrew an earlier UGB expansion proposal). All four cities demonstrated governance, infrastructure and market factors that will lead to housing development, Bennett stated.

Beaverton would gain the most land – 1,232 acres able to accommodate an estimated 3,760 homes in the Cooper Mountain area. Bennett wrote Beaverton’s “strong track record for getting housing built in the South Cooper Mountain area is a major reason why I recommend that the council expand the UGB in the Cooper Mountain urban reserve.”
Beaverton planning officials have thoughtfully planned for the area’s topographical features and environmental assets, she wrote.

Bennett recommends the council add the entire Cooper Mountain urban reserve inside the UGB to enable the city to provide infrastructure in a coherent fashion.

Beaverton’s concept plan for the area proposed that approximately 50 percent of the housing be attached single-family or multifamily.

“We’ve always anticipated a pretty broad range of housing types to be provided within the neighborhood,” said Cheryl Twete, Beaverton’s community development director.

Beaverton will perform a study to better understand how the city can attract development of various housing types, Twete said.

City officials are “very excited” by the positive recommendation, and city leaders support all four regional boundary expansions, she said.

“We feel really confident in the value and the case that we’re making for Cooper Mountain urban reserve,” she said.

Hillsboro’s bid to add 150 acres with 850 homes in the Witch Hazel Village South area was recommended. Hillsboro’s concept plan calls for up to 70 percent of the housing to be multifamily or attached single-family.
King City earned a recommendation to expand into 528 acres, with 3,000 homes planned, in an area known as Beef Bend South.
Bennett wrote King City “deserved credit” for its ambition to diversify its population and housing options. King City’s concept plan for a town center with 1,000 multifamily units “may be overly optimistic at this time,” but a smaller-scale town center could work, she wrote.

Wilsonville’s plan to add 271 acres near Advance Road in the Frog Pond area was recommended. The area would host approximately 1,325 housing units.
Wilsonville has a “strong track record getting housing built” in Villebois, Bennett wrote. With Frog Pond, Bennett wrote, “the city is ready to govern and serve this area and there is evidence that market demand is strong.”

Taken as a whole, the UGB expansions would represent opportunity for a modest addition to the Portland-metro area’s housing stock. The four expansions would add a projected 9,235 homes inside the growth boundary.

The relatively small expansion areas reflect how challenging it is to extend roads, sewer and other infrastructure into previously undeveloped areas, Christensen said.

“It’s really expensive and really difficult to build on green fields,” he said. “As long as that remains, you’re only going to see a handful of applications (with each cycle).”

Metro is pushing for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and other forms of less expensive housing.

“Our population’s growing (and) our economy’s growing, so we need to make sure there’s housing for the people who live here,” he said.

Article written by:

Chuck Slothower – DJC Oregon