By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Planning director takes on state land-use laws

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Comments

jusasking

High rises in Mac?
How do you maintain at least five years’ worth of buildable land within the city limits? The more populated a city gets the the bigger that requirement becomes. Expanding the city limits is next to impossible due to the UGB, so The only logical answer I can see is going vertical. Same footprint, more people. Is that our destiny thanks to state mandates that totally ignore local wishes.

Lulu

We could have our own Cabrini Green.

jennyb

The headline of this article greatly misrepresents the presentation at the City Club. "Taking on the State" was at no point part of Heather Richards presentation. She did a great job of clearly presenting the issues facing the City of McMinnville, including praising Oregon Land Use Goals. I encourage citizens to hear for themselves the thoughtful and nuanced information Planner Richards brings to our community by attending the presentation to the City Council on Wednesday.

gregtompkins

The liberals from other areas move here and think how wonderful the land use laws are. Maybe wonderful for them if they are wealthy California Democrats with more money than brains? These same types want all the overpopulation but no solutions at all except more taxes and services for their illegal workers. I think at some point a tipping point will be reached that we say to heck with the land use laws let’s just pave over the entire Willamette Valley for subdivisions. We are close to that already with the outrageously overpriced housing and bureaucracy.

Jeb Bladine


“Take on” can mean many things, such as to engage, to undertake, and to draw attention to something with critical analysis. The planning director’s televised report did “take on” state land use laws.

Consider some quotes from the well-prepared presentation"

“When it (planning for growth) is out of balance it is unfairly weighted in one direction and the results are inequitable. Many believe that McMinnville is the poster child for that imbalance.”

“If you are concerned about accommodating growth for future generations and maintaining livability for all Oregon residents, Oregon’s metrics are not doing well and are declining rapidly.”

“The intent (of Oregon's land use system) was great, the practice has failed.”

“We are failing our future generations … We have become entrenched in a battle of selective ideology.”

“No one (state land use) goal should be prioritized over another goal – they should all be balanced … Many feel the system is no longer balanced … McMinnville is now the poster child for the ‘Not Working' argument.”

Finally, concerning how the system forces cities into expensive, unsuccessful legal battles over expansion of their urban growth boundaries: “This is what we have spent 1,000s of hours, $1 million and 33 years debating back and force, contributing to housing inaffordability, gentrification and increased homelessness in McMinnville.”

So, did the planning director “take on” state land use laws. I think so. And instead of suggesting she was wrongfully accused to doing something wrong, we should be applauding her courage for telling all of us how some failures of Oregon’s land use system are negatively affecting our quality of life.

gregtompkins

McMinnville really isn’t that nice of a town. Certainly it has the Main Street charming district but other then that it is quite ghetto and getting even worse. I tell folks McMinnville is where Sonoma and Appalachia collide. I tried living there but ultimately the vagrancy was the final straw for me ..... Not “homeless” but outright vagrancy and embrace of it just like San Francisco and Portland have done. McMinnville is plagued with a similar liberal populace and “vibe.” I moved back to Newberg and now I’m moving to the Charbonneau District so I can be right next to work. This county and McMinnville specifically need more high paying employers and we need smart people moving here.

Treehouse

One of the things that can cripple meaningful discussion of planning for growth is giving in to sweeping generalizations followed by special pleading. To contemplate near term future growth in McMinnville that meets state land use requirements does not require that we weigh twenty story towers against paving over forests and farms.

The forms of strict, rigid, highly proscriptive zoning laws that became the norm in America following WWII may no longer be adequate to address our complicated and at times conflicting urges when it comes to designing our communities.

I'd urge my fellow citizens to look into options like "incremental zoning", "Dynamic Zoning", and look into the kind of advocacy for communities just like ours provided by organizations like Strong Towns.
https://www.strongtowns.org/

gregtompkins

Here’s a good article on where this all started with a McCall and McPherson. McPhersons son Greg had a little to do with the kiboshing of Measure 37 with Measure 49. How ironic now I’m moving to the poster child Charbonneau why they put in land use and just having moved from the poster child McMinnville was the poster child of where the land use was a failure 50 years later. https://ohs.org/research-and-library/oregon-historical-quarterly/upload/02_Gifford_Planning-for-a-Productive-Paradise_OHQ-115_4.pdf

gregtompkins

Here’s a good backgrounder on why our highways are in such a mess and why we have Hong Kong sky rises in Portland. Child molesting Democrat that even was before Sam Adams..... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Goldschmidt

David S. Wall

Oregon "Voters' will have to make a decision-abandon Oregon's Land Use Laws and face the San Francisco Bay Area-ization of Oregon cities and towns.

Or, defend and strengthen Oregon's Land Use Laws to protect the sustainable Resource Economies (agriculture, timber, forest products and fisheries) by preserving irreplaceable and priceless lands for future generations.

The Planning Director's diatribe is as disingenuous as Mr. Bladine's commentary on the issue before us.

If UGBs in McMinnville remain as they are, the position of "Planning Director" becomes obsolete and "Planning functions" could be contracted-out similar to the independent contractor hired as the City Attorney for McMinnville.

Cities should stop fighting UGB extension legal battles and quit bellyaching as to creating un-funded entitlements for people to live in cities (McMinnville, Newberg, etc.) if they cannot afford to do so.

Increased "homelessness" is significantly driven by the plethora of "free services" offered by Yamhill County and serves as an enticement for homeless people, drug-addicts, and illegal aliens from other jurisdictions to relocate here.

The inescapable intractable problem; there is a finite amount of land and too many people attracted to the High Technology and Service Economies competing for a finite number of high-paying jobs. The aforementioned accounts for "gentrification and in-affordable housing."

Expansion of UGBs will not solve this problem. It will only make the problem much worse.

Applauding a self-serving, obsolete Department Head who has wrought Baker Creek Development upon the McMinnville is a definitive failure affecting "our quality of life."

I do not want Yamhill County to grow similar to Washington County and or the San Francisco Bay Area.

David S. Wall

gregtompkins

David it’s too late we are already Washington County 2.0 I think the next thing that will quickly happen is everything starts fusing together from Eugene to Olympia. We are destined to be one giant sprawl from Eugene to Vancouver BC. Land Use laws haven’t stopped the growth they’ve just lined the pockets of the bureaucrats and the leftists. People like McPherson and Stetterly and Goldschmidt have become wealthy.

Jeb Bladine

David S. Wall ... It's possible that you and others don't fully appreciate the interplay of legal forces with in-city land use planning.

Keeping UGB boundaries static does not change state laws requiring cities to plan residential development based on official estimates of population growth. Without UGB expansion, that means pushing for ever-greater density developed on every square inch of available land in the city, no matter the cost.

The state already gave that a push that way by eliminating single-family-home zoning, with du-tri-quad plexes now joining all neighborhoods along with a high number of townhouse and apartment developments. The result bodes ill for future street system capacity ... ignores the cost of extending utilities to an area such as the west hills ... sometimes disregards the impact on adjacent and surrounding residential neighborhoods.

And as the planning director has said, the sprawl that people wanted to prevent by limiting UGB expansion is happening outside the city limits without the same level of planning.

There really are a lot of moving parts in local land use planning bound by new state laws and the historic realities of UGB expansion efforts.

I don't think McMinnville should have given in so fully to state pressures and private developer wish lists, but it's hardly a time to just close that city office and contract it out.

Treehouse

Jeb Bladine,
Don't you think system capacity needs and extension costs can be adequately addressed through developer impact fees?
I believe that approach has been effective in other communities facing many of the same kinds of pressures.

gregtompkins

I see it with the expansions “outside of the city” and yet this seems to be happening even despite thousands friends of Oregon and DLCD. In the hills behind Newberg it really feels like Newberg, Sherwood and Beaverton are fusing together. You see a lot more lights of houses that I don’t remember being there in the 90’s.

David S. Wall

Jeb Bladine... You state, "It's possible that you and others don't fully appreciate the interplay of legal forces with in-city land use planning."

As a "newspaper man" you should avoid comments of this nature for you have no idea what I know or do not know concerning the subject matter. This statement also applies to others who read, comment or do not comment.

You state, " Keeping UGB boundaries static does not change state laws requiring cities to plan residential development based on official estimates of population growth."

You are correct, this is the issue facing all Oregon cities and these are the laws that need to be abolished through the courts and or legislature and not "gambling with taxpayer's monies" to affect statutory changes to sooth the chaffed hides of Planning Directors and Developers.

The bottom line is cities like; McMinnville, Newberg, et al., can no longer support growth without significantly raising taxes.

Cities do not have the infra-structure and or natural resources (water) to sustain growth. A city can only grow so much.

Development, especially residential development does not "pay for itself," degrades the quality of life for those who live here and is nothing more than an imposed tax by the State of Oregon, levied on the existing population to provide growth (UGB Expansion) predicated on illusory population expansion codified by statute.

End Post #1
David S. Wall

David S. Wall

Jeb Bladine (continues)...Any competent Attorney (or even a lowly citizen) could compel by mandamus, a city to include development specific, existing statutes, imbedded within the ORS, to include said statutes into the local jurisdiction's development permitting process.

Combined with "total cost recovery" the "economics" driving development could be very cost prohibitive.

Now, let us review your position, stated in various parts of your Newspaper. You are "Pro-growth and are against the "Tyranny of Land Use Laws."

You have a "vested interest" in promoting growth.

Your Newspaper, your Hotel and your other businesses and properties profit significantly as McMinnville continues to grow.

I am waiting to see a "cheesy" submission in your paper from the Director of Planning under the "Guest Writer" section espousing the need for expanding the UGB and doing away with Oregon's Land Use Laws.

I am very much aware as to the statutes, "...eliminating single-family-home zoning, with du-tri-quad plexes now joining all neighborhoods along with a high number of townhouse and apartment developments."

Once again, the local jurisdiction's permitting processes could be legitimately employed to thwart the development ideology hoisted upon us by the legislature. And you should already know my position on this matter. It is too bad you don't print all the House Bills alone that have codified "development entitlements" in your Newspaper.

David S. Wall...to Post# 3

David S. Wall

Post #3

Jeb Bladine (continues)...As to the "development" in the County...well...that is the function of a corrupt and incompetent Yamhill County planning function and not McMinnville's. But, once again why isn't this issue vetted out in your Newspaper?

How many Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) and Appellate Court decisions to date have reversed Starrett's and Olson's intentional blunders to appease permitted projects? What is the cost to the taxpayers? Sounds "news worthy" to me.

You state, " There really are a lot of moving parts in local land use planning bound by new state laws and the historic realities of UGB expansion efforts." You are correct!

Aren't these issues "newsworthy" and should be discussed in your Newspaper? I am aware of the statutes because I pay attention to the legislature's activities and do not rely upon your Newspaper to do so. You should consider having a column dedicated to the shenanigans of the Senate and House of Representatives to inform subscribers and maybe to boost circulation.

You state, "I don't think McMinnville should have given in so fully to state pressures and private developer wish list, but it's hardly a time to just close that city office and contract it out."

Ah, the contrite confession of the penitent. McMinnville's principals and agents kowtowed for reasons unknown and you use their choices to support keeping the Planning Director on the payroll.

Are your valid and newsworthy concerns printed in your Newspaper?

David S. Wall

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