Hopping into Frog Pond West financing
When it comes to the future Frog Pond neighborhood and its ever-evolving master plan, many have asked where the capital will come from to build the infrastructure to support the development. At the June 19 Wilsonville City Council meeting, City staff and project consultants presented the most recent and solid iteration of the Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP) for Frog Pond West.
Set to be on 180-plus acres bordered by Boeckman Road and Stafford Road, the Frog Pond West neighborhood is planned to have a mix of single-family housing, parks, recreational trails and a West Linn-Wilsonville School District school. Although similar in amenities to the Villebois neighborhood, Frog Pond West will be set on a north-south grid and have its own aesthetic.
Planning Director Chris Neamtzu and consultant Andy Parks led the June 19 presentation, explaining that the funding options that they've arrived at are based on what's best and most feasible for all parties involved.
"The Infrastructure Funding Plan has taken many turns," Neamtzu said. "It's evolved significantly in the last 60 days since we asked for a continuation at the last public hearing."
According to the IFP and Master Plan, there are five infrastructure projects that need to be completed before Frog Pond West can take shape: redevelopment of Boeckman and Stafford roads with an improved sanitary sewer system; creation of neighborhood parks; creation of Trailhead Park; and creation of the Boeckman Trail.
"We spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to put the private sector as the lead for one or more of these particular projects," Parks said, adding that they determined each project would be too large and costly for any one developer to take on. "We're suggesting that the City takes the lead with all five of these major, master plan level, infrastructure type projects and the Boeckman Bridge... The total for all of these projects is a little over $12 million."
Park explained that some development costs for those five projects will be covered by existing fee provisions, such as the parks being covered by the Parks Master Plan.
"Given the negotiations that you've all described, this is a project that is heavily dependant on the public side of the public/private partnership," Mayor Tim Knapp said. "Which is an interesting conversation with the private sector, who is usually asking the government to step back, and now they're asking us to step forward to enable this to happen."
"We're talking about fronting those costs and getting paid back," said City Manager Bryan Cosgrove.
Consultants estimate that approximately $15,000 per unit will be charged in development fees and that the approximately 140 lots slated to be developed will pay for the sewer lines to serve the area, after the City foots the infrastructure bill.
Councilor Susie Stevens expressed concerns over the equity of the fee structure, saying that her gut reaction to the universal fees — where smaller, more affordable homes would have to pay the same amount in development fees as more expensive, larger lot homes — was unfair.
"I do have a little bit of a challenge that we're trying to have people move into this neighborhood, like working families," Stevens said. "So, is it equitable? It's hard to say."
During the work session and following City Council meeting, the council discussed the ordinance for more than two hours, touching on additional issues covering the aesthetics of future homes, traffic and greenspace. As 10 p.m. drew near, the council voted to approve the IFP with a few additional amendments to the language of the master plan as a whole. The amendments will be reviewed on the second reading of the ordinance on July 17, followed by a 30-day enactment period.