The sounds of garbage trucks driving by hummed in the background of the Coffee Creek Industrial Area informational meeting and open house at Republic Services garbage processing center Oct. 5.
Wilsonville City staff, planners and project consultants filled a large room with presentation boards detailing the proposed plans for the Coffee Creek Industrial Area. Sandwiched between Tualatin and Wilsonville to the north and south, respectively, and Boones Ferry Road and the Coffee Creek Lake Wetlands to the east and west, the 216-acre site is meant to usher in a new age of industrial park design.
"There's a scarcity of good industrial land (in the metro) area," said Jordan Vance, Wilsonville economic development manager.
Sitting in unincorporated Washington County next to the Basalt Creek Area, the Coffee Creek Industrial Area was first added to the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 2002 to increase industrial and employment land in the metro area. Planning for the new industrial area began in earnest shortly thereafter.
Throughout 2006 and 2007, the City hosted a number of community events and open houses to gather community input.
In September 2006, approximately 40 residents assembled at Wilsonville City Hall to listen to City and consultant Otak staff give joint presentations covering master plan alternatives for the Coffee Creek Industrial Area. Surveyed participants commented on a desire for design promoting connectivity and had questions regarding how property annexation will impact tax structures.
Adopted in 2007, the plan married the region's call for more industrial areas while creating a new set of standards for how industrial areas will look in Wilsonville. Fast forward 10 years, and residents' questions surrounding code and design are starting to be answered as the Coffee Creek Industrial Area is taking shape.
"We want this to have a high quality design," Kimberly Rybold, Wilsonville associate planner, said, adding that the area won't have a "typical" industrial area look with a sea of parking between the street and buildings. Instead, planners said that the area will have a college-campus-like feel with tree-lined sidewalks, green spaces and architecturally interesting buildings.
The meeting was largely attended by property owners impacted by the future development of the proposed industrial area. While no one at the meeting spoke publicly in opposition to the project, several property owners described a general frustration with the proposed development due to chunks of their land being acquired for right-of-way and road easements. These neighbors asked not to be quoted. Others expressed trepidation due to having unanswered questions about how the development will affect them.
Coffee Creek area resident John Carson was one such cautious neighbor. Having bought his property in 1982, Carson said he and his wife have invested in and remodeled their home. With developers looking to buy the Coffee Creek area land for industrial development on the horizon, he's concerned about possibly losing the equity that they've built.
"I'm just concerned because I don't know what will happen," Carson said.
But Vance said that he anticipates that the project will add rather than reduce value of property within the area and that other area residents approached him after the meeting with excitement about the project, looking to annex and sell their properties to developers. He was careful to note that the changing code will only affect landowners who request that their property be annexed into Wilsonville. Without annexation, the codes and impending development are not mandatory.
"Each property owner is the master of their fate," Vance said.
Vance and Nancy Kraushaar, Wilsonville community development director and City engineer, both stressed that they and the City are open and available for individual and group meetings with property owners who still have concerns after the meeting.
Planners said that near the end of the year all neighbors will receive a letter in the mail about code updates and the project's next steps.