Oregon Court of Appeals rules in favor of urban growth boundary expansion
The Oregon Court of Appeals recently issued a favorable ruling for the prospects of future Wilsonville neighborhoods near Advance Road.
The Land Conservation and Development Commission's approval of Metro's 2018 urban growth boundary expansion — which included future Frog Pond East and South neighborhoods in Wilsonville as well as neighborhoods in Beaverton, Hillsboro and King City — was appealed by Housing Land Advocates, a charitable corporation that focuses on land-use policy and advocates for affordable housing. In a May 12 decision, the OCOA ruled in favor of Metro and the LCDC decision.
HLA argued that in expanding the growth boundary, Metro violated state planning goal 14, which requires that jurisdictions demonstrate future housing needs "cannot reasonably be accommodated on land already inside the urban growth boundary" when deciding to expand. The theory is that because Metro's charter prevents it from requiring cities to increase density in existing single-family neighborhoods, it is not sufficiently utilizing land within the boundary for housing.
The court, however, ruled that Metro had done enough to accommodate housing needs within the boundary, citing Metro's projection that 97% of housing needs in the next 20 years would take place within the UGB despite the charter provision. The expansion was used to cover the remaining need. Therefore, the court felt that LCDC did not violate the planning goal in approving the boundary expansion.
"In such circumstances, we cannot say that LCDC's interpretation of Goal 14 is implausible merely because it does not require Metro to impose 'additional densities in the specified single-family residential neighborhoods' in order to realize efficiencies beyond those already achieved by Metro," the court ruling read.
The order also noted that Metro prevented homeowners associations from limiting housing density in expansionary neighborhoods and that Metro requires cities to meet minimum density and housing mix requirements. The court even parsed the definition of "reasonably accommodated" and interpreted that Metro does not need to take extreme measures to increase housing density.
HLA argued during a public hearing in the case that LCDC's decision would lead to "modern-day redlining" and create internal growth boundaries because existing neighborhoods would be exempt from accommodating future housing needs.
The Wilsonville government was already moving forward with planning for its two new neighborhoods, which could include at least 1,325 homes, and will continue to do so.
"That's what we're doing now. Nothing has been delayed," City Attorney Barbara Jacobson said.
However, HLA could decide to appeal the decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. The Spokesman could not immediately reach HLA for comment.
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