The town will use the funds to evaluate long-range land needs and simplify the method for expanding its UGB

Newberg is among 16 cities recently awarded planning assistance grants from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).

The DLCD is doling out more than $511,280 in grant money to local and regional governments in order to complete projects designed to "update and modernize planning documents and local regulations," according to a release from DLCD.

The technical assistance grants are intended to ease the cost burden of planning activities that might require local governments to perform a specialized study or retain a consultant, for example. The grants are designed to promote economic development, develop affordable housing, create communities resilient to natural hazards or improve infrastructure, the release said.

In Newberg's case, the grant will be used to evaluate the long-range land needs of the community using a new, simplified method for expanding its urban growth boundary.

The grants were meted to communities across the state and for a variety of uses. While Brookings will use the funds to assess the impacts of the disastrous Chetco Bar Fire, Pendleton will utilize the cash to perform a wetlands inventory.

In general, the DLCD grants can help a community bring plans up to date or comply with new state regulations.

The DLCD was formed in 1973 under Senate Bill 100, the landmark land use legislation designed to protect the state's farm and forest land while promoting livable communities and facilitating orderly development. The DLCD is guided by a seven-member volunteer citizen board known as the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). Through both organizations cities and counties have adopted comprehensive plans that meet mandatory state standards for land use, development, housing, transportation and conservation of natural resources.

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