After a multi-year effort, the city of Madras took formal action June 25, to expand its urban growth boundary to take in the entire Madras airport property.
The Madras City Council voted unanimously to expand the boundary by 1,089 acres — more than doubling the acreage in the UGB. The entire airport property, which is owned and operated by the city, is about 2,091 acres.
To get to that point required a change in the state's land-use laws, which prevented the city from adding more than 199 acres at one time.
In 2017, House Bill 2743, introduced by former state Rep. John Huffman at the urging of the city, was passed. The bill directed the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission "to establish and implement a pilot program to implement a master plan for economic development on land adjacent to airport in rural area."
"In 2018, the city worked with DLCD (Department of Land Conservation and Development) to establish rules that would guide that UGB expansion," said Nick Snead, director of the Madras Community Development Department.
When that process was complete, the city submitted its application for the pilot program in 2018, was selected Jan. 25, and officially notified March 11. That spurred a whole series of city and county planning commission meetings, which culminated in the Madras City Council finally passing the ordinance.
Snead explained that prior to the pilot program, the city could only expand incrementally over time. "That cost can be between $20,000 and $50,000 per expansion," he said. "This program allows us to bring it all in at one time, so there's a lot less expense."
Under the previous rules, the city spent about $50,000 in 2017, to add 195 acres to the UGB for Daimler's truck testing facility. By bringing the land into the UGB, developers will no longer have to obtain permits from both the city and the county, noted Janet Brown, Jefferson County manager for Economic Development for Central Oregon.
Brown, who is usually the first contact point for developers at the airport, has been involved since the start in getting the legislation passed. The pilot project allows the city "to bring in a large amount of airport-industrial land into the UGB in one step, rather than the piecemeal and very expensive way the state was making the city do with each expansion of Daimler."
The acreage includes 894 acres for airport development, 90.48 acres for open space and public facilities (such as the OSU Agricultural Research Center), and 94 large lot industrial land (for Daimler).
"It's been a team effort — city, county, EDCO with Janet Brown, Business Oregon and DLCD," said Snead.
Brown agreed that there was impressive backing for the effort to add the acreage. "We had support from the city, county, agriculture and private companies," she said.
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