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Newberg UGB fight headed to mediation


Land use — After Land Conservation Commission meeting, Newbergs proposal is remanded, pending mediation attempts

The Land Conservation and Development Commission is asking the city of Newberg to enter into mediation with objectors to expansion of the city’s urban growth boundary of 260 acres of industrially zoned land south of town.

“If the parties are not willing to mediate, the commission will formally remand the decision to the city at the commission’s meeting in May,” Carrie MacLaren, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation, said after the commission’s March 12 meeting in Coos Bay.

The appeal process has been in the works since the request was approved by Yamhill County in August. Known objectors to the expansion include 1000 Friends of Oregon, who object because the proposal includes prime farmland and includes more land than necessary.

“Some say it’s complex, but it’s really rather simple: in Oregon, we don’t sprawl onto farmland unless there is no other choice. Newberg has other choices,” said Mia Nelson, 1000 Friends’ Willamette Valley advocate. “But bowing to political winds, they have consistently made the wrong choices despite the law. As a result, they’ve proposed an overreaching UGB expansion that would waste high-quality farmland and taxpayer dollars.”

MacLaren said the remand was based of a lack of substantial evidence “connecting them with the operational requirements of their targeted industries.”

“Thus, the commission found that the city eliminated too many lands from study as possible areas for economic development,” she said. “Correctly identifying and matching site characteristics with target industries is important because it assures that appropriate lands are identified for expansion, and also that land inside the existing UGB or urban reserve area is efficiently used before additional lands are added.”

She said moving forward, if Newberg declines entering into mediation, the city or another party could appeal the remand, at which point the decision would go to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

MacLaren said difficulty in passing UGB amendments is something the LCDC often deals with.

“In the past three years, the commission and department have approved 15 UGB expansions (not including Metro),” she said. “The most recent of these was a 240-acre UGB expansion for industrial uses in Prineville in January.”

She said the department is also conducting a project that would streamline the process for UGB amendments, which will go into effect in 2016.

For Newberg, Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern warned objectors during a Newberg City Club meeting to respond to the decision cautiously.

“I don’t want Newberg folks to get too excited, it’s not smooth sailing from here,” Stern said, citing a similar issue in McMinnville which has been in the appeal process since 2006.

To view the LCDC notes, visit http://1.usa.gov/ 1evoUj4.