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A presentation at the May 17 council meeting could kickstart a years-long process

As Newberg continues to grow rapidly over decades from a small, rural community to a midsize urban city, one of the considerations before local officials is how to accommodate a growing population. At the May 17 City Council meeting, Community Development Director Doug Rux and other city officials discussed with councilors the possibility of expanding the city's urban growth boundary.

"We discussed the various directions the City Council may want to go with this," Rux said. "We shared with them that we've done our housing needs analysis, our economic opportunities analysis and our public and semi-public land use analysis. They've accepted all three of those documents."COURTESY MAP: CITY OF NEWBERG - To accommodate growth in demands for residential, commercial and industrial land, the city of Newberg has begun considering expanding its urban growth boundary.

The city's housing needs analysis found that, over the next 20 years (2021 to 2041), Newberg will have a surplus of 31 acres of low-density residential land and a deficiency of 37 and 44 acres for medium- and high-density development. Those estimates are driven by population growth estimates from Portland State University, which project an increase of 7,995 people in the Newberg area by 2041.

The economic opportunities analysis revealed that, based on those same population and employment numbers estimated by PSU, Newberg will have a surplus of 18 acres of commercial land and a deficit of 164 acres of industrial land. The city also found that it also will need an additional 120.5 acres of land for public use in the next 20 years.

"We've talked through some possible options or considerations based on those needs," Rux said. "One of them was to continue implementing our economic development strategy, work on redevelopment of the mill site, and various policies we could implement to preserve industrial sites. Another option is incentives for the industrial and commercial side, which could include an economic improvement or business district downtown, a parking management plan in the downtown area, land assemblage, SDCs, regulatory streamlining and so forth.

"This data is identifying that we have deficiencies in land supply over the next 20 years for residential and employment land. The options for addressing this could include efficiency measures and zoning changes or an urban growth boundary expansion to accommodate this need. We've run through different scenarios and this discussion was one of the first major steps in the process."

Expanding the city's urban growth boundary is a process that spans years and requires a number of hurdles to clear before initiation. The May 17 discussion at the council was the first step in this process, with councilors now tasked with deciding which direction they want to go.

There is a hierarchy that must be considered when expanding an urban growth boundary, Rux said. First, city officials examine urban reserves in the city, followed by exception land and resource land.

The largest among Newberg's urban reserves that could be used for expansion is a 412-acre parcel south of Bell Road and west of Springbrook Road in the northern part of town. Others include a 28-acre area south of Providence Drive, a 68-acre area off Springbrook near the Newberg-Dundee bypass, and a sliver of land to the west of Highway 219 near Wynooski Road.

Discussion on this subject will continue at the June 21 council meeting.

"This is not a one-year process or a two-year process," he said. "It's several years. It requires a lot of evaluation and discussion, and it involves many steps depending on which direction the council would like to steer this. The next step would be officially adopting our (housing and economic needs analysis) and public/semi-public land use analysis and integrating it into our comprehensive plan. After that, you would actually start the evaluation process of where you'd begin the expansion."

More information on the process of expanding the city's urban growth boundary, including maps and statistics, can be found in the May 17 Newberg City Council agenda under the business section.

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