King City moves toward planning process for expansion
The coronavirus pandemic has forced King City's elected officials and city employees, like everyone else, to adjust daily routines and practices.
Yet the virus is not expected to put a crimp in King City's plans to develop a master plan to address expanded acreage in the city due to the extension of the urban growth boundary.
In late 2018, Metro expanded the urban growth boundary. That decision provided King City with an additional 528 acres to develop in an area called Beef Bend South, extending from King City west to Southwest Roy Rogers Road, bounded to the north by Southwest Beef Bend Road and to the south by the Tualatin River — though it will have to be annexed into city limits first.
The expansion was affirmed on appeal by the Land Conservation and Development Commission in Salem.
In tracing the history of the urban growth boundary extension, King City City Manager Mike Weston looked back to 2016 and the shortage, at that time, of buildable land.
"What we had was approximately an acre and a half of residential and about three acres of commercial land that was available for development within city limits and the urban growth boundary," Weston said. "We started looking into what urban reserve areas would qualify for King City."
City officials determined a need to push out to Roy Rogers Road because, according to Weston, that's where the sewer lines, water lines and necessary infrastructure are.
The concept plan for a major westward expansion of King City began.
"We brought in ECONorthwest to do our housing needs analysis, which came out saying that we needed a certain number of units for single family, a certain number of units for commercial — a mix of housing types and needs," Weston said, noting the main contract was with Urbsworks and ECONorthwest was a subcontractor that completed the housing needs analysis.
The concept plan involved a couple of years of public involvement, including meetings at Deer Creek Elementary School.
"We had City Hall walkthroughs and open houses go on for, like, weeks at a time," he said. "We sent everybody news flyers to let them know and get engaged."
Following Metro's approval of the urban growth boundary extension for King City, the next step became the transportation system plan, or TSP, which is currently underway.
"The TSP is to look at our transportation network, and make sure that we are growing responsibly and to make sure that we have the financial and fiscal capacity and capabilities to actually maintain our transportation network," Weston said.
He added, "The TSP helps the city determine the cost and design of the street network, what type of street profiles are appropriate at particular locations, and how much money we need to provide that level of infrastructure."
The transportation system plan, too, will involve the community, but the outreach is expected to be more virtual, considering the pandemic conditions.
"We are going to have our website, we're going to have a community survey platform open," Weston said. He envisions tables to be set up at the city park to provide information for the citizens.
Then comes the master plan.
"The master plan will address the land uses," Weston said. "The master plan will take a look at design elements, it will take a look at mix of housing uses, mix of commercial uses — hopefully through the master plan, we iron out all the possibilities and identify what we can truly excel in."
Weston expects 12 to 18 months of citizen involvement in the process.
"There will be a series of public hearings for the transportation systems plan, a series of public hearings for the master plan, as well as public engagement early on in the process," Weston said.
"Documents are drafted after you gather all that public engagement," he said, adding, "Those are presented to the planning commission who then makes their decision on what they want to see in it with another opportunity for more public engagement at that point in time. From there, the planning commission makes a recommendation to the City Council."
Completion of the process may take approximately 18 months.
The expansion area is comprised of 528 total acres, approximately 318 of those have been identified for development and 210 as natural areas and parklands, according to Weston. The city uses a voluntary annexation process that usually takes three to six months.
"We've never taken it upon ourselves to force an annexation," he said.
Of course, the population of King City is expected to grow as a result of the process — more than double, in fact.
Weston said the city's population was estimated to be 4,200 prior to the annexation of the Highlands in 2017.
"With the Highlands addition, our population was estimated at 4,600 to 4,800 residents, and remains at that number," Weston said. "It is expected that the expansion growth would add approximately 6,500 new residents."
That would bring the population of King City nearly up to the size of Cornelius today.
"We have a great opportunity as a city, as citizens, to create something great for our residents, and our citizens, and make King City a great place to live," Weston said. "And we need the community to tell us exactly how that's going to be and what they value the most."
With all of this planning ahead for King City, there is still a chance of hitting a roadblock.
Weston said, "Even if the Oregon Court of Appeals decides that Metro and the Land Conservation and Development Commission did it wrong, that they missed something, and send it all the way back to Metro or back to LCDC for consideration, we still have an obligation to plan for our future."
Weston continued, "Even if that all falls through, we can still continue our planning work and just have a better plan, and more time to work on it, and make sure that our plan is set for the next 20 or 40 years."
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