By Dora Totoian • Of The News-Register • 

Mac UGB expansion heads to county after 4-2 council vote in favor

The McMinnville city council adopted an urban growth boundary expansion at its Tuesday meeting. The plan now moves to the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners on Thursday for a public hearing. If approved at the county level, the plan goes in front of the Department of Land Conservation and Development. 

Ordinance No. 5098, which passed 4-2, adds 662.4 buildable acres to accommodate 1,500 new dwelling units and also changes parts of the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance code. Councilors Adam Garvin and Zack Geary cast the “no” votes. 

In response to some of the public testimony last week, the Planning Department changed small parts of the plan, like clarifying language saying that while high-density R-5 housing will be concentrated in neighborhood activity centers, the city encourages its dispersal throughout the community. 

The Board will not be taking live/oral testimony on this matter. Failure to raise an issue, by submittal of written testimony prior to or at the hearing, or failure to provide statements or evidence sufficient to allow an opportunity to respond to the issue precludes an affected party's appeal of the decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals on that issue.

Oregon’s land-use planning system, which prioritizes the conservation of farm and forest lands, requires all cities to plan for at least 20 years of growth. McMinnville, bordered by prime farmland, has had a long and convoluted UGB expansion process. 

Since 2003, the city has tried to approve a plan that groups like 1000 Friends of Oregon and others have opposed at multiple levels. For the past year, the city has worked on a remand of that original plan, in which the state found an error in how the city selected land to include in the expansion. 

The council held three days of public hearings on the plan last week. While a few people expressed support for it, the majority of those who testified shared concerns about the plan’s impact on farmland, its ability to provide affordable housing, traffic problems it may generate, their perceived lack of public engagement with the plan, changes to their neighborhoods, and more. 

If the UGB is approved by the Board of Commissioners and later the Department of Land Conservation and Development, more specific area planning and master planning would happen. 

The county-level public hearing will happen at the regular Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday at 10 a.m. Only written testimony will be accepted, according to a legal notice posted Nov. 20 in the News-Register.

See Friday's News-Register for the full report. 

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