Metro agrees to arbitrate land use issue over Basalt Creek
For years, the City of Wilsonville, the City of Tualatin, Metro and Washington County have been working toward completing a joint development vision for the Basalt Creek area, which lies between the two cities. However, Wilsonville and Tualatin have differing views on what a portion of the land should be used for. The Wilsonville City Council wants a subarea east of Grahams Ferry Road and north of the future extension of Basalt Creek Parkway to be zoned for industrial use.
The Tualatin City Council wants it to be residential land.
Now the two cities, unable to reach an agreement among themselves, have agreed in principle to turn the decision over to a third party: Metro, the regional government that originally added the unincorporated land to its urban growth boundary in 2004.
"Metro has agreed to decide the matter," Jim Middaugh, a Metro spokesman, confirmed in an email Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Metro, Tualatin and Wilsonville, along with Washington County, entered into an intergovernmental agreement in 2011 to conduct a joint planning process that officials expect to ultimately lead to the annexation and redevelopment of the area.
Tualatin and Wilsonville had nearly agreed on a map designating future land uses in the Basalt Creek area, a required step before Washington County approves any annexations there, when the Tualatin City Council decided in February it wanted to change the designation of the "central subarea" of about 63 acres that has been tentatively marked for future incorporation into Tualatin. The Wilsonville City Council strongly objected, pushing back and saying it should be zoned for industrial use, like the majority of the Basalt Creek area is expected to be.
Attempts to mediate an agreement between the two sides have failed, Middaugh said. That effectively leaves them in a stalemate.
As a result, the partners are planning to adopt a new IGA that will designate Metro as the dispute arbiter.
Metro will conduct a public process, hearing arguments from both sides of the dispute, to come to a final decision, according to Middaugh.
"Both sides will make some form of presentation," Middleaugh wrot. "Metro's chief operating officer will make a recommendation to the Metro Council based on the information presented. The Metro Council will then vote on the recommendation."
Once the land use concept map is set, Metro and Washington County must sign off before the county allows Tualatin to annex south to Basalt Creek Parkway and Wilsonville to annex north to the parkway, the original plan. The annexations are expected to create a jurisdictional boundary between Tualatin and Wilsonville for the first time.