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Another day, another citizen task force

Wilsonville convenes new task force for Frog Pond residential planning


by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Frog Pond planning area, shown above at its northeast corner at Stafford Road and Frog Pond Lane, will be the subject of a new citizen task force currently being formed by the city of Wilsonville. Expect the name Frog Pond to get a lot of air play in Wilsonville over the next two years.

The city is gearing up for a comprehensive public planning process that will feature a citizen task force, as well as a host of surveys, open houses and other forums designed to give local residents a voice in how the area develops over the next decade.

“We’re at the context and site analysis state, and there’s about a year to go to finish the concept plan by 2015,” said Katie Mangle, the city’s long range planning manager. “We will do that, we’re going to stick to the schedule.”

The scope of work being done, however, looks set to change as the city wraps the adjacent Advance Road planning area into the same effort.

The 181-acre Frog Pond area is envisioned by the city as providing room for up to 1,000 single-family homes. Because of Wilsonville’s current ratio of 57 to 43 percent multi-family to single-family housing stock, it is expected that the city will have some latitude in the composition of housing in this area, as well as in the 316-acre Advance Road planning area.

The city council recently approved a $297,931 contract with the Angelo Planning Group to develop a master plan for the Frog Pond site, which sits just west of Stafford Road. The Portland-based company will carry out online surveys, establish new websites, hold open houses and more. Finally, another public task force will be convened to give the project strategic direction. The new group will be comprised of four to six property owners, another four to six Wilsonville residents, including some who also work in Wilsonville, one or two rural property owners or residents, three Wilsonville planning commissioners and likely two to three city council members.

“An equivalent analogy would be the (city’s) urban renewal task force,” said City Manager Bryan Cosgrove, referring to the citizen-led strategic planning group that currently is putting together a strategy for the city’s two existing urban renewal districts.

The new Frog Pond task force is being pieced together right now and will meet later this month at city hall for the first of four to five planned gatherings over the life of the planning process.

“We will work with task force and use that group to give us feedback on some really key issues,” Mangle said.

Whatever form it takes, councilors agreed that the way in which the public is engaged would go a long way toward the relative success or failure of the development.

“I think that the public’s perception of how inviting the process is for them to come in and participate,” Mayor Tim Knapp said last month, “is going to be absolutely critical to achieving the sort of buy-in that makes this plan have eventual viability and horsepower.”

The first of several public open houses now is planned tentatively for October, and a final concept plan should be put before the council by May 1, 2015, if all goes according to schedule. The task force is scheduled to meet at least twice in the next two months. But it likely won't convene again after that until at least next fall, Mangle said.

A $341,000 planning grant from Metro is paying for much of the planning, with the city chipping in an additional $80,000 in matching money funded through systems development charges.

"These are going to be key times," Mangle said, "where we’ll be kind of mid-work. This is where the engineers are trying to crank the numbers."

Urban Growth Boundary

One variable the city will need to deal with sooner rather than later is the status of the Advance Road area. The majority of the parcel is outside the Portland metro area urban growth boundary and thus is unavailable for the type of development being considered. Earlier attempts to have the area included inside the UGB failed. The Frog Pond area, by contrast, already is included within the UGB as well as within Wilsonville city limits.

The next round of possible urban growth boundary expansion will not be considered until next year. The city plans to submit a formal application at that time to have the Advance Road area brought inside the UGB.

One aspect that plays in the city’s favor is the fact that 40 acres within the Advance Road area already is included inside the UGB, thanks to a successful petition by the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, which owns the land and plans to develop a new middle school and primary school at that location in the future, subject to available funding.

In any case, said Knapp, the city needs to remain vigilant about the UGB deadline, lest a single issue derail carefully laid plans.

“The timeline is critical for the council to be prepared to meet regional timelines,” Knapp said. “We have less flexibility that way.”