Officials plan workshop later this month to discuss what will be allowed on new land as it's opened to public

What will or won't be allowed on the city-owned IronHorse property will be discussed later this month, following a request to develop policy for the recently acquired land.

City Engineer Eric Klann approached Prineville City Council at a meeting last week, seeking direction on what public activities the municipality would allow as they invite the residents to check out the property.

The city purchased the 460 acres of land in December for about $1.2 million. The land is attractive to the municipality because of the 305 acres of water rights it included as well as its potential for recreation, residential development and more. The property is comprised of one large chunk of land north of the existing IronHorse residential development that borders 160 acres of BLM land to the east. The remainder of the city land includes two small blocks of land on the east side of the BLM property.

In late March, Klann stated that the city should consider improving access to the property so that citizens will start to visit the land, explore it, and develop ideas on how they would like to see it used in the future. This includes removal of a house and barn on the property and a gravel extension of Combs Flat Road toward the site of the house.

"What we would propose is to go in and remove those, gravel that whole area as a parking lot, gravel the drive and what Scott (Smith, City Street Supervisor) said he would do is extend Combs Flat," Klann explained. "It would be a good way to get the public in there."

Those efforts have since moved forward. Klann noted that public works staff has been graveling a parking area, and the structures at the site are getting removed. So now, Klann is seeking input on what the public will be allowed to do on the property.

"Some things we need to start thinking about now as we begin to open it up to the public … are some of the basic policies," he said last Tuesday. "If somebody wants to take their horses up there and they call me, can I say yes or no on that? Right now, I don't know."

Other examples Klann mentioned included motorcycles or bicycles as well hiking.

Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe agreed with Klann that the city leaders should establish some rules and the sooner the better.

"It is always best to have the guidelines in before people start doing things and we have to tell them they can't do it anymore," she said.

Klann recommended scheduling a city council workshop in late July during which time the council could consider the different uses that might emerge and which ones would be allowed on the property.

And while the group agreed to the idea, a couple councilors opted to weigh in on some of the activities Klann had recently mentioned. Teresa Rodriguez said she would like to allow horseback riding as well as cycling, hiking and picnicking on the property. Steve Uffelman, meanwhile, expressed concern about allowing motorcycles or other motorized vehicles on the property.

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