City due another review of what's best for future
A committee of respected locals will review a draft Economic Opportunities Analysis in a public hearing May 20. As it stands, the draft, which was commissioned and paid for by Kimco McMinnville and RPS Development, favors rezoning a 90-acre parcel on Three Mile Lane (which it owns) from industrial to commercial to pave the way for a major retail center likely to include a Costco and a Target.
The last EOA was commissioned by the city in 2001. It stated the city has a commercial land deficiency and an industrial land surplus. The draft commissioned by Kimco, however, goes beyond a simple needs review by including language that outlines the advantages of a major retail center such as the one proposed for Three Mile Lane.
1000 Friends of Oregon took issue with what the group called”self-serving conclusions” meant to steer the city in favor of a retail center on Kimco’s land. We haven’t fully analyzed comments by 1000 Friends, but we welcome all citizen input available when it comes to important decisions on the future of McMinnville.
We trust the citizen committee and City Council to apply diligence and focus on what’s best for the local economy and community livability.
The 2001 EOA stated: “McMinnville’s primary comparative advantage is its small-town character and desirability as a place to live, coupled with its proximity to the metropolitan Portland and Salem areas ... Typical suburban-style growth, with its separation of residential and commercial uses, traffic congestion and strip commercial development, may detract from the character of McMinnville relative to other communities.”
That’s not to say that the arguments against a major retail center on Three Mile Lane would outweigh the arguments for it, but building it would take strong vision and creative development.
It might be in the city’s best interest to attract a major corporation to develop a headquarters campus alongside Evergreen Aviation’s. That option might better protect the integrity of the Newberg-Dundee-McMinnville bypass, now an integral element of any planning for future commercial or industrial development.
McMinnville has faced these issues in the past. Proposed development of KMart and eventual development of Wal-Mart both sparked controversy. Once again, the pros and cons of adding more big-box retail will have a public airing.
Would Costco on Highway 18 draw shoppers into town, or would they drive here only for their big box needs? Would added traffic and strip malls be detrimental to the city’s livability? Or is it more important that local Costco members be able to shop without driving to Tigard or Salem? Would more accessible big-box retail actually help attract more industry? Would a Target hurt the locally-owned retail sector along Third Street? Would close-in, big-box development produce greater traffic problems than a well-planned development along Highway 18?
Good questions, and more are to come.
We know that McMinnville is a desirable place to live, and livability should be the No. 1 goal as the city considers future economic opportunities. That’s because no number of retail jobs is worth becoming just another suburb.