With a 6-0 vote by the City Council, developers can now build private streets with stipulations

The Newberg City Council passed an ordinance on a 6-0 vote Feb. 5 to allow the construction of private streets in planned unit developments (PUDs).

The decision allows private streets in new developments, but developers must meet specific stipulations under the new ordinance and be approved by the planning commission to go forward.

Two non-citizens who favored the ordinance spoke before the council, including a representative for contractor J.T. Smith, who proposed the ordinance to the city. No one represented an opposing view at the council meeting.

Councilor Matt Murray shared with the council how he arrived at the decision to approve private streets. He explained that he took a walk and he came across an area with private streets.

"I wasn't sure with how I felt about private streets," he said. "We've got alleyways (and) private streets all scattered throughout the community. Every place we came across was clean and I thought to myself … that there are a lot of rules that they have to follow (stipulations). So I believe that this is going to be really good to focus on our council goal of helping provide affordable housing units."

The amendment was passed with some stipulations: providing a way for the planning commission to deny the application if the criteria are not satisfied; require homeowners continually employ a community management firm to manage parking and private streets; the development must have a minimum of either 50 dwelling units or 13 lots; require the homeowners association provide an annual report to the city's community development director; require a draft reserve study as part of the application process; require the applicant to coordinate successfully with the fire marshal and city engineer on public health and safety requirements; and that the city retain the right to enforce the requirements of a private street.

To promote private streets and PUDs, Andrew Tull with 3J Consulting, Inc., presented his case before the council and pointed to large scale developments in Texas. He explained how developers make developments work on expensive un-developed land.

"The way that they make that work is by putting extremely high quality products at high densities. These are single family detached homes. … One of the ways that you accomplish that is not thinking of your private street network necessarily as a big network of thoroughfare streets, but you separate the development into pods and those pods would serve almost like an apartment complex would," he said.

The police have limited control over what happens on private streets.

"Typically private streets do not allow police enforcement for traffic violations (i.e. failing to use your turn signal), however we are able to enforce traffic crimes such as DUII. If a driver was speeding and failed to stop at a stop sign creating a 'reckless' situation, we would be able arrest someone on a private street because it is open to the public," Newberg-Dundee Police Department Capt. Jeff Kosmicki said. "Many times we gets calls to enforce parking, however we are unable to enforce any parking issues on private streets."

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