Today the Metro Council voted 6-0 to add 1985 acres to the region’s urban growth boundary for future housing and jobs. (Councilor Rex Burkholder was excused.) This represents less than a one-percent expansion of the region’s urban footprint to accommodate thousands of additional households and workers over the next 20 years.
This vote capped three years of analysis and planning for future growth and sets the stage for ongoing discussions about how the region can better invest in creating economically prosperous and vibrant communities while protecting farm and forest land for future generations.
Every five years, Oregon law requires Metro to prepare a forecast of the population and employment growth the region can expect over the next 20 years and then analyze whether the urban growth boundary can accommodate all of that growth. The most recent analysis of the urban growth boundary was completed at the end of 2009.
In 2010, the Metro Council worked with local governments to take measures to accommodate more growth inside the existing urban growth boundary through increased zoning in targeted areas, new transportation investments that could serve and encourage higher-density development along major transportation corridors, and other measures. Following the adoption of the “capacity ordinance” last December, the Metro Council determined that some additional capacity within the urban growth boundary would be needed to accommodate the growth that is forecast for the next 20 years, so targeted urban growth boundary expansions were considered throughout 2011.
Several areas were evaluated and identified by Metro’s acting chief operating officer and requested by local cities. In the end, four areas were added to the urban growth boundary in today’s decision:
- A 330-acre area north of Hillsboro, in the vicinity of NW Meek Rd. and south of U.S. Hwy. 26, for the purposes of attracting future large-site industrial employers;
- A 1063-acre area south of Hillsboro, in the vicinity of SW 229th Ave. and SE Tualatin Valley Hwy., to achieve a target of approximately 10,776 new housing units;
- A 543-acre area west of Beaverton, in the vicinity of SW 175th Ave. and SW Scholls Ferry Rd., for a minimum of 4,651 new housing units, and
- A 49-acre area west of Tigard, east of SW Roy Rogers Rd. and south of SW Bull Mountain Rd., for new residential development and to provide public structures in the West Bull Mountain area.
“We’ve made a modest expansion of the growth boundary. Now we must return our focus to fostering the growth of jobs and development in our downtowns and industrial areas within our region,” said Metro Council President Tom Hughes.
The urban growth boundary amendment approved today will take effect in 90 days (Jan. 18). The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission must review the Metro Council’s decision, and the Commission is expected to hold public hearings on Metro’s urban growth boundary decision, including a review of the 2010 capacity ordinance, in early 2012.