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State commission to review Newberg UGB

Land use — City planning director says staffs recommendations to remand the issue back to the city are based on the wrong standard


A recent state report on Newberg’s request to expand its urban growth boundary (UGB) by 260 acres of industrially zoned land south of town has recommended the action be remanded back to the city — a suggestion that longtime opponents of the plan hailed as vindication but which city staff said was due to a simple misunderstanding.

The recommendation was made by staff members of the Department of Land Conservation and Development in their full report earlier this month, which also included seven points of consideration they believe the city should review on remand. The ultimate decision in the case will rest with the Land Conservation and Development Commission, when it takes up the matter during a hearing scheduled for Thursday in Salem.

Sid Friedman, a spokesman for the land-use activist group Friends of Yamhill County and its state-level parent organization 1000 Friends of Oregon (both of which have long opposed Newberg’s UGB proposal), said he was “not surprised by the critical nature of the DLCD report.”

“We’ve repeatedly said that any UGB expansion will ultimately be smaller and include less prime farmland,” he said. “Newberg has other options that can reasonably accommodate industrial development, and can do so in a manner that will cost taxpayers less and produce jobs sooner than the city’s proposed expansion area. These other options are, by law, a higher priority.”

He also repeated the claim, made by Friends and other opponents throughout the amendment process, that the city has overestimated the amount of industrial land it needs and underestimated the existing UGB’s ability to meet those needs.

“As result, the size of the expansion is both too large and in the wrong place,” he said.

The DLCD staff report does not actually include any recommendations for the city to alter its proposal — either to reduce it in size or include different parcels — it merely asks that certain matters be better evidenced, clarified or explained.

However, Newberg Planning and Building Director Barton Brierley said even those recommendations are based on the wrong standard. He said that a Court of Appeals decision, entered a couple of years earlier in the city’s long fight to expand its UGB, dictated to Newberg what standards it should use in evaluating industrial areas.

“They used the wrong standard when they were doing the review of our submittal,” Brierley said, referring to the DLCD staff. “If they applied the ruling correctly, it should be approved.”

Any party to the case, including opponents, are permitted to file exceptions to the ruling, and Brierley said last week that the city has already done that, which he expects will “clear up the objections.”

He said the DLCD staff can file an amended report before the hearing or respond to exceptions during the hearing, but he is not sure what the procedure will be in this instance.

1000 Friends of Oregon and Friends of Yamhill County also jointly filed exceptions to the DLCD report before the deadline passed last week, reiterating a number of the objections that they believed the department staff had overlooked without reasonable grounds for doing so. The full text of both the city’s and Friends’ exceptions can be found online at www.oregon.gov/LCD/Pages/newberg_ugb.aspx.

The monthly meeting of the commission will be held Thursday and Friday at the Agriculture Building, 635 Capitol St. N.E., Salem. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/LCD/Pages/meetings.aspx.



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