Land use — Commission apprised of alternative options for annexing 260 acres of disputed land

After being asked by the Land Conservation and De­vel­opment Commission (LCDC) to enter into mediation with those objecting to the city’s proposed urban growth boundary, city staff is in­stead recommended a withdrawal of the city’s application altogether. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Newberg City Council at its May 5 meeting. The Newberg Planning Commission was apprised of the situation and weighed in at a meeting last week.

The 260-acre expansion to the southwest corner of the city has faced objectors since its proposal, most prominently from 1000 Friends of Oregon and its local subsidiary, Friends of Yamhill County.

“Newberg has other options that can reasonably accommodate industrial development, and can do so in a manner that will cost taxpayers less and produce jobs sooner than the city’s proposed expansion area,” said Sid Friedman, a spokesman for 1000 Friends. “These other options are, by law, a higher priority.”

Steve Olson, the city’s interim planning and building director, presented the planning commission’s options at its April 10 meeting, one of which included submitting a revised application directly to the Land Use Board of Appeals between five and six 50-acre segments.

“There’s greater likelihood of success, but we see a process it could take five to 10 years,” said Phil Smith, planning commission board member.

Friedman said withdrawing and starting over would be a waste of time.

“The city’s possible ap­proach just seems massively ineffective and inefficient. Whether they go with the proposal they have or five smaller ones, the city will be relying on the same elements that have already been found to be not adequate,” Friedman said. “That will not change no matter how many little pieces they break this into. We have tried over and over to open doors to possible solutions. The county, and now LCDC, have done so as well. But the city is poised to slam the door and choose a train wreck instead.”

Olson said the City Council is seriously considering all options moving forward, but wouldn’t’ be surprised if the LUBA route stood out as the best option.

“One reason we like LUBA is that frankly, it’s not a two-year process to get a decision out of them,” he said.

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