Plannin’ FAILURE ahoy! Check out METRO’s urban reserve roadblock

I keeping seeing the death knell writing on the wall for Molalla’s absurd 2,400 acres urban reserves. As we await the learned input from REAL PROFESSIONAL planners at the County and oversight from HONEST COUNTY COMMISSIONERS who understand and support Oregon’s land use goals, I can’t help but laugh about the rough waters ahead for Molalla.

When insanity like Molalla’s 2,400 acre, 50 year reserve is stacked up against the recently proposed METRO urban reserve of only 28,000 acres for ALL OF HUGE METRO it was easy to say “no way!” would Molalla succeed through the land use review process on its urban reserve baloney. After all, a County Commissioner already told me that Molalla has been told at least TWICE that the reserves won’t pass County muster.

What is totally eye-opening is the below article about how the Metro urban reserves, proposed after a very long PUBLIC process with consensus by Metro and three Counties (note the quote that these professional experts thought they had it “dialed in”) is now being contested by Thousand Friends, the Farm Bureau – and even by Oregon’s Dept of Agriculture! – because it is too big and not protective enough of prime farmland.

The ink was barely dry on the METRO proposal before those big gun protectionists came out swinging!

Earth to plannin’ bozo Potter: can you smell the EXPENSIVE, LONG DRAWN-OUT  lawsuit writing on the wall, when even METRO can’t propose an urban reserve that sails through uncontested? Can I forward you the name and contact info for the Thousand Friends LAWYER who is chomping at the bit to take Molalla plannin’to the mat over your “tiny, incompetent, shrinking, bankrupt, crumbling, idiotic village gets land greedy” 50 year gag me with a spoon Molalla urban reserves?

Gee, is anyone up for a lottery to bet on how much time and money it will cost plannin’ bozo to defend his trash “maps” before the reserves hit the County dumpster?

It’s totally loathsome that Molalla’s pile of Potter waste paper will squander the time of  COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL planners. How embarrassing! How about retracting the “reserves” and using them for toilet paper at City Hall – recycling would at least provide a good use for this trash.

And, rest assured, the same cast of characters that has stepped forward in the below article to contest METRO’s plans with be ready to fall all over Molalla’s nonsense if the County is ever foolish enough to say “ok”. Head in the sand Molalla doesn’t seem to understand that if the County says “ok” to Molalla’s garbage plannin’  it has to say “ok” to all future garbage plannin’ from other County cities. That’s called “setting precedents” and I’m quite sure Clackamas County isn’t looking to set BAD precedents to “help” the good old boy Molalla speculators!

Let’s see: Then Canby could “need” 8,000 acres and Sandy could “need” 6,000 and Estacada could “need” 2,000 and Happy Valley could “need” 10,000 and Oregon City could “need” 20,000 – get the picture? There would be no resources left except nutty urban reserves if bottom of the barrel Molalla got its childish, legally indefensible “wish”.

By the way, I hear that the no SDC Hart Street apts proposal isn’t exactly steaming through to permitting – what’s up with that, Potter and Atkins? Is ODOT a bit expensive to satisfy? Have the banks said they don’t want to invest in another instant SECTION 8 ghetto building in Molalla? Could it be that you jumped the plannin’ gun yet again? When’s that big NO SDC Hart Street APARTMENT groundbreaking scheduled? Maybe we can start rounding up and busing in the SECTION 8 folks to fill the apts – how about going for all smoking units this go around? Ha, ha.

It’s tough to be part of a “big picture” isn’t it, Molalla? I’m still hoping the good old boys can put the whole ugly place on a flat-bed and truck the city to East Texas where there are no land use goals and they could SPRAWL to their heart’s content. Bye Bye City of Molalla – I’d bet the County would be thrilled to get you off its back. It must get tiresome to have to keep saying “NO” to a city “led” by out of sync with the real world dummies like Atkins, Clarke, and Potter.

Read on, and understand that no one will “look the other way” when it come to protecting resources by contesting outlandish urban reserves. When even the “big players” can’t get it “dialed in”right Molalla has nothing to look forward to but “Plannin’ FAILURE ahoy!”(quote):


Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 5:42 PM     Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 10:56 PM

Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian

Preserving farmland from encroaching development, especially in Washington County, is at the heart of objections filed to Metro’s designation of urban and rural reserves.

Metro and the three Portland-area counties thought they had it dialed in. After three years of work, they agreed to a plan this spring that designated which areas of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties will be eligible for development over the next 40 to 50 years and which will be reserved for farming, forestry or as natural areas.

Next up: state approval. And with it, Metro and the counties bring long-term stability and certainty to the contentious land-use planning process. Planners and elected officials do fist bumps all around. Property owners and local governments proceed with a blueprint of where and how the region will grow.

Not so fast. An objection filed by the state Department of Agriculture may blow up the whole process. At the least, it’s significant opposition from a heavyweight state agency. Critics question whether the agriculture department is breaking rank with other state agencies. Metro Council President David Bragdon, who presided over the wrangling that produced regional agreement, said the public is confused when state agencies argue different sides of an issue.

But land-use coordinator Jim Johnson says the department, seconded by the farmers who serve on the state Board of Agriculture, is just doing its job: protecting farmland.

The flap emerges from the Portland area’s designation of urban and rural reserves. The process was set in motion by the 2007 Oregon Legislature, and was intended to take the angst out of the current way cities grow through periodic, controversial expansions of the urban growth boundary.

The thinking was that long-range land-use designations would provide certainty about where development would occur. Cities, school districts and utilities could plan streets, sewer lines, water reservoirs and public buildings. Farmers and foresters could make crop and equipment decisions, knowing that development wouldn’t intrude for decades.

After multiple public hearings, Metro and the counties designated 28,615 acres as urban reserves and about 267,000 acres as rural reserves. The plan goes to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission for review this fall, and formal objections were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Forty-five groups and individuals filed objections. Most were no surprise. The conservation group 1000 Friends of Oregon and the Washington County Farm Bureau, which became unlikely allies during the process, filed a joint objection saying too much farmland was designated as urban reserves. Save Helvetia, a rural neighborhood organization whose members became quick studies by immersing themselves in the land-use process, objected to urban reserve designations as well. Stafford residents and city officials objected to that area being urbanized.

On the other side, the property rights group Oregonians in Action said too much Washington County land was designated as rural reserves. Much of it is rural residential land, already broken up into five and 10-acre parcels and unsuitable for large-scale farming or forestry, group President Dave Hunnicutt said.

“This was pitched to the Legislature as a better way to handle urban growth boundary amendments,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any better at all.”

Coalition for a Prosperous Region, a business group, said the designations contain nearly 10 times more rural land than urban. “How is that balanced?” asked Jonathan Schlueter, executive director of the Westside Economic Alliance, which coordinated the response. He said the designations will force development outside Metro’s jurisdiction into Yamhill and Marion counties in Oregon and into Clark County in Washington.

Many of the objections involve the designations applied to individual properties, sometimes down to the tax lot level. Overall, however, the fate of farmland — particularly in Washington County — is at the root of the complaints.

Of the 28,615 acres designated as urban reserves, nearly 12,000 acres are classified as “foundation” agricultural land, meaning it is what backers often describe as the “best of the best.” About 82 percent of the acreage is in fast-growing Washington County, which despite its emergence as a high-tech center remains one of the top five agricultural counties in the state.

In the agriculture department’s objection, Johnson said the urban and rural reserve designations approved by Metro and the counties don’t achieve the balance the Legislature intended. Thousands of acres were designated as rural reserves in order to justify designating more crucial farming areas as urban reserves, he said. But in some cases the rural land is not threatened with urbanization, one of the criteria required by the Legislature.

Eight other state agencies took part in Metro’s reserves planning process to some extent, but only the agriculture department filed an objection.

Johnson said the department has an obligation to speak up when farmland is in danger of being converted to other uses.

“We’ll probably take some grief for it, but we’ve been there before,” he said.

Eric Mortenson

© 2010 All rights reserved.

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