Divided planning commission OKs economic analysis
Commissioners Martin Chroust-Masin, Remy Drabkin and Charles Hillestad had enough reservations about the document to vote against it.
Supporting the analysis were John Tiedge, Erica Thomas, Jack Morgan and Wendy Stassens. They argued that the EOA was not itself a planning document, and that the issues of concern should be raised later, when the EOA is used to create planning documents.
Tiedge also argued that the advisory committee had spent a number of hours examining the issues, and said he did not believe the commissioners had sufficient information to make changes to the committee’s work.
Commission chair Frank Butler participated in the discussion, but did not vote, since there was no tie to break.
The vote followed an extended discussion about whether to alter the document or approve it as-is. Commissioners differed less on the issues themselves than on the question of whether to address them in the EOA document.
Chroust-Masin said it is important for the EOA document to include a commitment to protecting the Highway 18 bypass.
Funding for the EOA came from a development company seeking to rezone a large parcel along the bypass from industrial to commercial us in order to build a major shopping center. City officials have stressed that consultants engaged on the project provide independent, third-party analysis of city land use situations.
Hillstad concurred with EOA advisory committee member Mark Davis that the “connotatively loaded” word “leakage” — referring to people leaving the county to shop — needed to be removed from the document. Hillstad argued that the document seems to favor commercial over industrial development, despite its lower wages.
“The attractive thing about McMinnville compared to a lot of other towns, said Hillstad, “is that it does still have some industrial,” higher-wage jobs.
Drabkin argued that the document had “a large oversight” in failing to discuss the economic opportunities posed by the airport, which she said could and should be further developed. She cited possibilities such as creating a courier hub to the Portland International Airport, or attracting cargo carriers.
Four people testified about the document — one a representative of the funding development company, two members of the advisory committee and a member of the public.
In other business, the commission amended its permitted uses to comply with new state laws, and added “tasting room” as a permitted use in industrial zones. Those changes passed unanimously.