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Story by Kimberly West - The Oregon Herald Oregon Hera
Published on Thursday March 11, 2010 - 12:09 PM
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LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon - Fears of urban development are deep-seated in the Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Tualatin areas. Now proposed planning strategy could shape development throughout the region for the next 50 years. Last Thursday The Metro Council voted 5-2 to designate several tracts of land for urbanization up to the year 2060. In addition the Council decided to increase the amount of land to remain off-limits to development.

28,000 acres of farm and other rural land will be considered urban reserves and eligible to be included within the urban growth boundary. This impact could effect home-owners and residents in those areas, Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn. Nearly 4000 acres which are now exclusive farm use of rolling hills and forested areas between the towns, are among lands considered for future urban growth.Development in the Stafford area is dependant on at least one of the three surrounding cities agreeing to provide water and sewer connections. Such an attempt could force many legal maneuvers and other court challenges.

On Monday West Linn councilors asked the city manager to begin conversations with officials in Lake Oswego and Tualatin, who like West Linn, have protested development beyond their limits.

“We’re in the evaluation process now, but we’re thinking about filing an appeal once the process is done,” said City Councilor Jody Carson.

While the urban reserves sparked the most controversy in the regional process, lands named as rural reserves could have greater long-term consequences. The Metro Council agreed to put 272,000 acres into rural reserves, essentially declaring a green belt around the Portland metro area that’s roughly equal in size to the total area inside the urban growth boundary.

The Stafford Hamlet dates to 2006, which is when 2,200 residents formed the quasi-governmental body. It has no final decision-making power in regard to land-use matters, but instead serves as an advisory body to the county commissioners.

Conflicting visions for how Stafford should -- or should not -- develop go back many years. These tensions have long simmered with residents in the area. Homeowners with fewer than five acres in the area usually favor less development and they outnumber larger landowners, who have tended to favor denser development which allows them to break their lands into smaller sections, sub-divide, allowing for a much larger capitalization and profit.