FAQ - Long Range Planning
A. Area 93 is already in the Beaverton School District, so the schools that would serve additional students are Bonny Slope Elementary, Cedar Park Middle School and Sunset High School. The number of anticipated students varies with the density of development and the types of housing products offered. Those decisions would be made during the planning process following successful completion of the proposed boundary adjustment, a process that will involve the Beaverton School District. In addition, the Beaverton School District will collect construction excise taxes on all new development that occurs in Area 93 plus property taxes once the value of these new residential properties becomes part of the tax roll. This additional revenue will help fund future school capacity needs.
A. Changing county boundaries in Oregon requires a change in state law. The 2013 Legislature will be considering specific legisla¬tion to adjust the boundary. To implement the boundary change, Multnomah and Washington counties would need to adopt a formal agreement by January 2014. Once an agreement is adopted, citizen input about the planning and development of Area 93 would take place over a one- to three-year period.
A. Some increase in traffic is anticipated from new residential development in Area 93, primarily on Laidlaw, Thompson and Saltzman roads. Bringing Area 93 into Washington County allows the county to collect taxes and system development charges that will be used to improve these and other Washington County roads experiencing increased traffic.
A. In 2002, regional and local governments in the region made a collective commitment to add more than 20,000 acres to the urban growth boundary (UGB), providing land sufficient to support 20 years of anticipated population and job growth, as required by Oregon law. “Area 93” was one of several areas included in the 2002 UGB expansion to serve growth on the region’s west side—others included North Bethany, portions of River Terrace (West Bull Mountain), and portions of South Hillsboro.
Area 93 is located in Multnomah County, approximately 2.5 miles north of the U.S. High¬way 26/Oregon 217 interchange. It is approximately 160 acres in size. Due to existing roads and natural features, the land area available for development is less than half that amount. Area 93 is isolated from other urbanized areas in Multnomah County by a rural reserve area approximately one-half mile in width. It is contiguous to urbanized Washington County on two sides. Click here for a printable map
A. The 2002 UGB decision to allow development of Area 93 by the regional and local governments was made to reduce growth pressure on farm and forestland elsewhere. Since then Multnomah County and the City of Portland completed a significant amount of preliminary planning for Area 93, but unlike other 2002 west side UGB expan¬sion areas this area has not been able to move beyond the planning stage. The challenge has been determining how to provide and pay for essential urban services such as water, sewer, parks, roads, and police protection. The preferred solution to advance development of Area 93 involves transferring it into Washington County. (Revised Feb. 26)
A. Development is anticipated to be primarily residential, at densities consistent with the existing urban development in adjacent Washington County. If Area 93 is transferred to Washington County, it will be subject to the appropriate environmental standards and rules currently applied by Metro, Washington County, and Clean Water Services to protect stream corridors, water quality and wildlife habitat.
Q.Who would pay the planning and infrastructure costs of development? Who would pay for urban services as the area develops?
A. Washington County’s objective is to make this change of jurisdiction as close to revenue-neutral for its existing taxpayers as possible. Existing Washington County resi¬dents should not have to pay for public improvements needed in Area 93—those who benefit should pay for them.
Changing the county boundary will allow Washington County to plan for what will primarily be residential development in Area 93. Once the Washington County Board of Commissioners adopts these land use plans, property owners would be required to annex into several Washington County service districts as a condition of development (listed in the table below). Property taxes will increase as these additional services are provided to the property.
In addition, new revenue may be necessary to combine with development fees and taxes to pay the cost of new roads and other infrastructure specifically benefiting Area 93. A clear picture of future property tax costs is expected when Washington County conducts the planning process for this new urban area.
Potential revenue tools to pay for Area 93 planning and urban services include: Metro’s Community Planning and Development Grants; development fees; systems development charges for transportation, parks, water and sewer systems; construction excise taxes for schools; and increased property taxes collected as the area develops. (This will include specific property tax levies for urban levels of road maintenance and police protection.)
A. Urban and other services would be provided by a wide range of Service Providers. These include:
Storm & Sanitary Sewer
Parks and Recreation
For a full list of service providers, please click here.
A. Area 93 landowners, Metro, and Multnomah and Washington counties have worked co¬operatively to find a solution that delivers on the region’s 2002 commitment to facilitate residential development in this area. In this unique situation, moving the county boundary to bring Area 93 into Washington County is necessary because:
• Public services essential to developing Area 93 cannot be provided in a timely and cost-effective manner by the City of Portland or Multnomah County,
• Those services are available in Washington County, and
• Revenue-raising tools are already in place in Washington County to ensure that those directly benefitting from devel¬opment pay for the Area 93 infrastructure costs.
A. Preparing formerly rural land for urban development requires an investment in urban infrastructure improvements in order to adequately provide urban services. In addition, there will be impacts to existing infrastructure (such as roads) caused by future residents of North Bethany. Planning for new urban areas at this scale is unprecedented in Washington County, and the current structure to pay for new growth needs is designed to address incremental improvements. For North Bethany, a new approach is necessary. The planning work is being coordinated with a team of financial consultants to develop a funding plan that will address necessary costs. The Board of Commissioners has said they will only consider a land use plan for North Bethany if it comes with a companion funding plan for their consideration.
A. Since the subject 800-acre area of land located north of Bethany was brought into the Metro Urban Growth Boundary in 2002, it has been commonly referred to as North Bethany as a way to distinguish it from the already developed urban area. Ultimately, the comprehensive plan for North Bethany will be integrated with the county's existing Bethany Community Plan. While the comprehensive plan update will respond primarily to the new expansion area, the planning effort will take a comprehensive look at the larger vicinity. The planning vision is for North Bethany to be integrated with the existing Bethany Community.
A. Urban scale development may begin after the Board of County Commissioners adopts ordinances reflecting changes to the Washington County Comprehensive Plan, and after the Board comes to agreement on infrastructure financing. The county anticipates adoption in the fall of 2010, at which time property owners may submit development applications.
A. 1. To meet various applicable state, regional, county and community planning objectives.
2. To identify necessary urban infrastructure requirements, and
3. To ensure that provisions for such infrastructure to serve the greater North Bethany area are fully in place before development begins.
A. Citizen input, often via the Citizen Participation Organizations (CPO’s) and their leadership group, the Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI)
State and regional requirements for coordination and compliance
Board of Commissioners’ and Planning Commission input
Staff input, especially county Land Development staff who are charged with implementing the long range community plans
A. Community Planning
The Community Planning Program is responsible for the preparation, maintenance and periodic update of the county’s Comprehensive Plan. They monitor the plan and keep it in conformance with state and regional requirements; they also address community issues identified by the Board of Commissioners. Responsibilities include direct involvement with individual citizens, community organizations, cities and affected county and state agencies. Additionally, this program helps coordinate the county’s involvement in state, regional and county-wide planning activities.
The Transportation section’s primary responsibility is preparing and periodically updating the long-range (20-year) county transportation plan. Other major duties include working with Metro and ODOT on regional transportation issues and initiatives, travel forecasting, oversight and coordination of the countywide Traffic Impact Fee (TIF) program, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and planning support for other LUT divisions. They also staff monthly Washington County Coordinating Committee meetings, a regular forum for local elected officials to discuss transportation issues. Transportation planning activities include considerable involvement and discussion with county interest groups and residents in general.
Economic and Demographic Information Services
This program provides technical support for long-range planning and transportation projects. Activities include population and employment forecasting, growth analysis, data support for travel demand modeling, and management of population, employment, housing and development related information to support public facility and service programs throughout the county. They are also responsible for the ongoing coordination of Planning’s Geographic Information System (GIS).
A. The Long Range Planning Division often prepares issue papers for the Board of Commissioners or the Planning Commission about issues raised at public hearings, or to address specific topics for the work program or other issues identified by the Board. Planning staff begins work by doing research and preparing papers that set forth the pertinent history, regulations, and a range of options. These may take a number of months to draft. The papers are then presented to the Board of Commissioners for their deliberation.
Issue papers are provided to the public for review and comment when they have been sent to the Planning Commission or the Board. Often the CPOs take this opportunity to study the papers and offer their insights to the Commissioners. These comments may be offered in writing or in person at regularly scheduled Board meetings, in the oral communications at the beginning and end of the meetings.
A. A Land Use Ordinance adopts, amends or repeals provisions of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, including the Community Development Code, the Transportation Plan and land use designations. An ordinance is filed when the Board of Commissioners directs staff to file the ordinance to address a specific issue. Afterwards, the Planning Commission must have at least one public hearing and make a recommendation to the Board.
The Board will then hold at least one public hearing before taking action on the ordinance. If the Board decides to make changes, the Board must hold at least two additional public hearings about the revised ordinance. A land use ordinance does not include such subjects as financing public improvements, road engineering and utility standards, building codes, development fees, sewer or septic regulations or nuisance control.
The ordinance hearing season is from March 1 to October 31 of each calendar year. No proposed land use ordinance may be adopted on or after November 1. If a final decision on a land use ordinance has not been reached by October 31, the ordinance is deemed rejected unless the Board continues it to a specific date on or after March 1 of the subsequent year.
Citizens who want to receive descriptions of all proposed land use ordinances during a calendar year may subscribe to a mailing list for a small fee.
A. Quasi-Judicial Plan Amendments usually involve requests to amend the comprehensive plan map and land use designation for a specific parcel. Quasi-judicial plan amendments differ from legislative plan amendments (i.e., land use ordinances) in that they involve a limited number of parcels; legislative map amendments affect a large number of parcels or all parcels of land similarly designated.
Amendments can involve a change to either the Rural/Natural Resource Plan or urban Community Plans. Quasi-judicial plan amendments are processed through a Type III procedure (public hearing before the Planning Commission and sometimes the Board of Commissioners). They are subject to the rules and procedures in ORS 197.763 for public notice and hearing procedures. In most cases the Planning Commission is the final decision maker. In cases where a plan amendment requires an exception to statewide Planning Goals or involves a map change affecting the EFU (Exclusive Farm Use), EFC (Exclusive Forest and Conservation) or AF-20 (Agriculture and Forestry 20 acre) Districts, the Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners rather than making a final decision. In these cases, two hearings are required, one before the Planning Commission and one before the Board.
The first step in the quasi-judicial plan amendment process is to talk with a county planner about the process and potential issues. This information can easily be provided over the telephone. If a person then decides to submit an application, the planner will schedule a pre-application conference. During the pre-application conference, the planner will provide more detailed information about potential issues and review criteria to be addressed, an estimate of application costs, written handouts and application forms, and a written summary of the topics discussed.
There are two application deadlines each year, February 15 and August 15. Complete applications received by February 15 will be placed on the Planning Commission’s summer hearing schedule; those received by August 15 will usually be scheduled for a fall or winter hearing. An application cannot be scheduled for a hearing until it is deemed complete and accepted by the county.
As of January 2006, an initial deposit of $2,100 must be submitted with the application. This payment is a deposit towards the cost of processing the application. The applicant will be required to sign a contract and agree to pay the full cost of processing the application.
A. Each year after considering Plan update requirements and issues brought forward by the above parties, the Planning Division prepares a draft work program for approval by the Board of Commissioners. The draft work program describes and prioritizes potential planning projects and land use ordinances as well as other planning activities for the year. Often the program contains issue papers that provide background information, facts and staff recommendations on various topics.
The draft work program is then distributed to the Planning Commission, CPOs, CCI and other interested parties for consideration and comments. It is also posted on Long Range Planning’s Web page. After considering the proposed work program, available staff resources and public comments, a final work program is approved by the Board.
A. The Board of County Commissioners, five elected officials who are the county’s ultimate decision making body for planning policy. Their decisions must be consistent with regional and statewide planning goals.
The Planning Commission, nine members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners for four-year terms. The Planning Commission advises the Board on legislative planning and development issues such as the adoption, revision or repeal of any Comprehensive Plan or implementing Ordinance or Code. For certain types of plan amendments, the Planning Commission makes the final land use decisions for the county. Planning Commission decisions can be appealed to the Board of Commissioners.
The Department of Land Use and Transportation’s (LUT) Planning Division, organized into community and transportation planning groups and cartography/GIS specialists
Adopted planning policies are ultimately implemented via the Community Development Code, administered by the county’s Current Planning Services Division of LUT. LUT’s Engineering, Operations and Capital Project Management Divisions also carry out policies.
A. No. Urban reserves will be the areas that are selected first for urban growth boundary expansions if and when they happen over the next 40 to 50 years, but it will be up to the Metro Council – now and in the future – to determine when, where or how the urban growth boundary gets expanded. Land that will be included in urban reserves will not be developed with urban zoning until it is brought into the urban growth boundary.
A. Metro and the three counties are coordinating public outreach efforts to engage citizens throughout the region in the study of urban and rural reserve areas and to advise the Reserves Steering Committee—and the Metro Council and three county commissions—on which areas are best suited to accommodate future growth and which areas should be protected for farmland, natural area preservation, forestry or other rural needs.
A. That has not yet been determined. A forecast of population and employment over the next 50 years, illustrating a range of possible outcomes, has been prepared by Metro that will help inform this work. This work will also attempt to assess how much population and employment growth can be accommodated within the existing UGB, which will also determine how much land may be needed for urban reserves. With regard to rural reserves, it is not so much a question of how much land is needed as it is in identifying which agricultural areas, forest lands and natural areas are the most valuable and should be excluded from urban development.
A. The Urban and Rural Reserves process won’t directly address the need. During analysis of the study area for potential reserves, one of the many factors to be considered is proximity to infrastructure. The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) analysis is also underway with the same timeframe. The intent is to match transportation needs through the RTP with reserves designation. Also occurring at the same time is funding analysis – how will needed changes be paid for – and a process to set some benchmarks to monitor progress and adjust programs as necessary. These four processes are going on under the “Making the Greatest Places” planning efforts led by Metro.
A. No. Lands that are brought into rural reserves will not have additional restrictions or limitations placed on them beyond those that already exist. The same rural zoning and development restrictions will apply. A rural reserve designation will exclude land from being brought into the UGB over the next 40 to 50 years.
Q.Is South Hillsboro (or any other specific area) likely to be an urban reserve? Is Sauvie Island (or any other specific area) likely to be a rural reserve?
A. It is premature to suggest which areas will be included as which types of reserves. We’re just getting started on determining the scope of the broader regional area to study for urban and rural reserves. Reserve study areas have not been defined yet, and no agreements have been made between Metro and the counties to designate any specific area as a particular type of reserve. The findings of the Shape of the Region study will serve as a foundation for a regional conversation about which areas are best suited for which types of reserves.
Q.Once an area is designated as an urban reserve is it immediately brought into the Urban Growth Boundary?
A. No. Designation as an urban reserve means that land will be the first area considered for UGB inclusion when and if growth in the immediate area requires more land. Metro will continue to evaluate future 20-year land supplies to accommodate near-term growth every five years. If your land is designated urban reserve, its inclusion might be considered in the next scheduled UGB growth or it might be 20, 30 or 40 years out, or it might not ever be brought in. So much depends on the growth in your area.
Q.Over the past several years, there have been a variety of studies done by different local, regional, and state agencies. Are these studies being incorporated into the reserves designation process?
A. Much of the work done in the last several years is being incorporated. For instance, the Shape of the Region study done in 2006 – 2007 helped increase awareness of the agricultural community’s value to the region – it is one of many reasons rural reserves are being designated – to protect valuable agricultural lands. Many of the cities within the Metro region are updating their comprehensive plans – those updates help provide information into how much growth each city can or would like to accommodate. A number of economic analysis are occurring for the same reason. Other studies important to the reserves process include: natural resource protections (streams, rivers, corridors, etc.); regional and local transportation plans; costs and availability of infrastructure to deliver services; and population and employment growth forecasts.
All of these studies contribute valuable input to determine what areas need protection from urban growth (rural reserves) and what areas could logically and efficiently accommodate more growth. An additional important study being conducted will identify growth capacity within the current Urban Growth Boundary.
Q.There are a variety of opinions on the accuracy of the population projections that are the basis of the designation process. Are there good reasons to believe these projections are accurate?
A. The projections are as accurate as any 40 – 50 year projection can be. Considering how different the region looks today than 1960, it is hard to believe any projection will be spot on. However, in preparing the projections, five distinctly different approaches were used that resulted in a range. That range, of 3.5 to 4.1 million people in 2060 (up from approximately 2.5 million now) is a guideline for region wide growth.
Q.There is much interest in providing local farm goods to local markets. How will small farms be considered? Will they be forced to change if they are designated one type of reserve or another?
A. No. Land uses remain the same for all property owners regardless of being designated one reserve or the other. A primary intent is to provide long-term certainty so that farms within rural reserves will remain agriculture-oriented for the next 40 – 50 years. Current farm use on lands designated urban reserves can continue farming. Once an urban reserve is considered for inclusion into the Urban Growth Boundary, the value of the land may provide property owners with additional choices regarding future use.
Q.There were several open houses held last summer and earlier this spring. Were those our only chance to provide input into this process?
A. No. The open houses addressed the first two key questions in the process. 1) Was the proposed study area (green area on the maps) the appropriate area to begin reserves analysis? 2) Are the proposed Candidate Urban and Rural Reserve areas the appropriate areas for further analysis? Public input informed the decision-making process to properly identify the study area and candidate reserves areas. Now that the study area and candidate reserves areas have been agreed to, technical staff from Metro and the counties will begin applying state-mandated criteria. Once the technical staff has moved forward with initial analysis, the public will be asked for their review and comment again inlcuding a Public Hearing August 20, 2009. Beyond those opportunities, each additional phase of the project will incorporate multiple ways for the community to weigh-in. All four of the participating jurisdictions have dedicated websites to provide current information.
Each jurisdiction has multiple advisory committees working on the project, all of which are open to the community and all have opportunity for public comment.
A. Urban reserves will be areas outside of the current Metro urban growth boundary (UGB) that will be designated to accommodate future expansions of the UGB over the next 40 to 50 years. These areas, before coming into the UGB, will need to provide for public facilities and services in a cost-effective manner.
Rural reserves will be areas outside of the current Metro UGB that will be excluded from UGB expansions and provide long-term protection for agriculture, forestry or important natural landscape features that limit urban development or help define appropriate natural boundaries of urbanization.
A. When identifying and selecting lands for designation as urban reserves, these and other factors will be considered:
•Can the land be developed at urban densities in a way that makes efficient use of existing and future public and private infrastructure investments?
•Does the land include sufficient development capacity to support a healthy economy?
•Can the land be served efficiently and cost-effectively with public schools and other urban-level public facilities and services by appropriate and financially capable service providers?
•Can the land be designed to be walkable and served with a well-connected system of streets, bikeways, recreation trails and public transit by appropriate service providers?
•Can the area be designed to preserve and enhance natural ecological systems?
•Does the area include sufficient land suitable for a range of needed housing types?
•Can the area be developed in a way that preserves important natural landscape features included in urban reserves?
•Can the area be designed to avoid or minimize adverse effects on farm and forest practices, and avoid or minimize adverse effects on important natural landscape features, on nearby land including land designated as rural reserves?
A. If consensus is not reached, Metro will revert to the existing UGB growth approach.
A. More information about urban and rural reserves can be found online at www.oregonmetro.gov/reserves
A. Urban and rural reserves will be designated through agreements between the Metro Council and the county commissions of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. A Reserves Steering Committee, consisting of representatives of local cities, neighboring communities, business groups, developers, farmers, land use advocates, environmental organizations and others, is advising the three counties and Metro on the development of the reserve areas along with public input received through various events and forums.
A. The Metro Council is required to consider expansion of the UGB every five years to meet the anticipated land need for housing and jobs over the next 20 years. Without urban and rural reserves, the Metro Council must primarily consider the types and quality of soil in surrounding areas when determining where and how to expand the UGB, without considering whether that new land can provide for the public services and amenities that are essential to creating vibrant communities. Establishing urban reserves will help identify, before the UGB gets moved, which areas can best sustain vibrant communities. Without rural reserves, there are no long-term protections available for valuable agriculture, forest land and natural areas to prevent urban development of these areas.
Q.Why are we looking at growth only in the Metro region and not encouraging growth to locate in other areas of the state?
A. The Urban and Rural Reserves process addresses growth within Metro’s jurisdiction. Newcomers to the area can’t be redirected to other regions. The three-county area is expected to increase substantially in the next 20+ years. Other counties also are expecting tremendous growth pressures. Other planning processes such as the Big Look are considering growth-related issues state wide. In addition many cities and counties are revising their comprehensive plans to accommodate change. The urban and rural reserves process is only one of many planning efforts underway to address growth.
Q.Why are we only looking at growth in the Metro region, why limit considerations to just the three counties? Why aren’t Columbia, Marion, Yamhill and Clark County, Washington as well as surrounding cities involved in these discussions?
A. Metro has jurisdiction for growth and transportation management within Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties only. Recognizing that surrounding counties and communities, including Clark County in Washington, will also be impacted by future growth, those jurisdictions are kept informed through a variety of inter-governmental and inter-jurisdictional communications.
Q.Why should urban and rural reserve designations last only 40 to 50 years? Shouldn’t some rural reserves be permanent?
A. While providing long-term certainty for landowners, local governments, businesses and citizens is important in land use planning, land uses can change significantly over several decades and in ways that we cannot predict now. Establishing a 40- to 50-year rural reserve provides sufficient long-term protection for today’s landowners while giving flexibility to future generations to continue the reserve designations or modify them to meet changing needs.
West Bull Mountain
Q.Are there regulatory alternatives to prevent tree cutting? Particularly concerned about Heritage Oak cluster?
A. Tree removal remains under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Department of Forestry and current regulations allow tree cutting with certain restrictions.
A. All stakeholder input is treated equally.
A. Discussions with park providers continue.
Q.Is the West Bull Mountain area subject to annexation by the City of Tigard? Doesn't there need to be a physical connection?
A. Service providers (water, parks) have not yet been identified. At this time it is not know what, if any, role cities will have in West Bull Mountain.
A. The West Bull Mountain project continues to move forward with timeline adjustments made as necessary.
A. Development can begin 30 days after the ordinance being adopted. Economic factors will play an important role in determining when development might begin. "Urban" services, such as water, are needed in order for development to occur.
A. Work on the finance plan continues.