The 46 single-family development is slated to come before the Newberg Planning Commission on March 8

The Newberg Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the proposed housing development Dutchman Ridge on March 8.

The proposal by applicant Del Boca Vista is for 46 single-family homes on land zoned low-density residential (R-1) on 13.5 acres located near the intersection of North Valley Road and Chehalem Drive in Newberg.GARY ALLEN - Plans for the Dutchman Ridge will go before the Newberg Planning Commission on March 8.

The proposal has faced some tough scrutiny over the past eight months before making its way back to the planning commission for a public hearing. The proposal was first discussed at a Newberg City Council meeting in May 2017. After a rather heated debate the council rejected the application to annex three properties into the city that were to be developed into a roughly 100-home subdivision near the city's far northwest corner. Low-density lots was a key concern for the council as it appeared the proposal was in violation of city planning rules that call for a mix in housing types in "large" annexations. The term "large" was a key point.

As a result, the council requested that staff and the planning commission return with findings that support rejecting the annexation at a meeting set for June 5. Del Boca Vista followed up with a request to extend the 120-day rule for an additional 90 days and to re-open the public record to submit additional evidence. The company was also in the process of developing an adjacent 53-lot subdivision on 10-acres known as Grace's Landing, which has now been approved.

The council met again June 5 to discuss revisions for the development, but the meeting was continued to June 19 after a lengthy discussion on ex parte communications that took place between counselors and residents who spoke at the May 5 meeting.

"At that June 19th meeting, you will need to allow testimony, oral or written, to be submitted in response to those communications that occurred," Community Development Director Doug Rux said.

On June 19, several people provided their input on affordable housing and low density housing in Newberg. Del Boca Vista owner Mark Willcuts requested the hearing be continued so they could discuss why this was not the best way to achieve affordable housing.

"Cost of the land would not make any R-3 on these lots affordable," he said in the council minutes.

Councilor Bacon countered that "There is a need for all types of housing in Newberg."

Once again, the subject would be discussed further at a public hearing set for Aug. 7.

In an abrupt reversal, the council gave preliminary approval to annex the property into the city on Aug. 7.

The high-density rule surfaced at the last minute and Councilor Mike Corey said he felt that it was unfair.

"You've already got a plan made and now the plan changes, that's a very incorrect way to create a development in Newberg …," he said.

The issue surrounded the language in the code and defining what exactly the word "large" means. The zoning of R-3 high-density in developments is set for a March 8 public hearing, the same date as Dutchman Ridge.

Rux explained that the hearing requiring R-3 land be included in developments is not related to Dutchman Ridge's application, they just happened to fall on the same date. He also explained that the Dutchman Ridge proposal will be reviewed before the R-3 hearing because of the required order of the meeting.

On Sept. 5, the proposed annexation of three parcels was approved and not considered "large," therefore the mixed requirement of zoning did not need to include R-3 high-density zoning.

As a result, Del Boca Vista submitted an application in November for the development of the lots for Dutchman Ridge and the Newberg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on March 8.

Del Boca Vista is requesting approval of plans to build 46 single-family homes. The lot sizes range from 4, 750 square feet to 8,835 square feet with an average lot size of 6,111 square feet and meets the required minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. Anticipated street access is at North Jones Street and East Taylor Drive.

The property abuts a stream corridor and requires additional studies to be approved by the Department of State Lands. There are six wetlands totaling around 2.9 acres with a tributary to Chehalem Creek that is adjacent to the property. Del Boca Vista created a wetland delineation report for approval to the state. The plan includes around 10 lots that abut the stream corridor with a 10-foot pedestrian access easement buffer and a stormwater facility to help maintain the wetlands. Dutchman Ridge will provide a pedestrian access easement through the stream corridor from another proposed development and may need to address impact on wetlands in the future.

The storm drainage facility will be public owned and maintained for detention and water quality to discharge into the existing stream channel and corridor. Taylor Drive will act as a thoroughfare along the homes that are adjacent to the wetland and a new road will veer south through the residential area onto Jones Street.

The property is close to Grace Landing and there is an expectation that traffic in the area at the intersection of Highway 219 and North Valley Road will increase. Del Boca Vista is recommending that the city and state continue to monitor for future improvements in traffic, if needed.

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