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Planning panel takes up street improvement regulations

The Dalles Planning Commission will take up issues related to public improvements — sidewalks, curbs, streets, sewer and water lines — related to residential development at a work session Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. at City Hall council chambers.

The meeting starts the next step in residential land use law changes following recent adjustments to comply with Oregon House Bill 3479, which applies only to The Dalles, preventing the city from charging fees in advance for future development of public improvements, or requiring property owners to sign agreements saying they will not oppose future formation of a local improvement district to pay for those improvements.

During earlier meetings, The Dalles City Council tasked the planning commission with a review of city policies relating to public improvements, and specifically asked the panel to look at barriers to development.

“The issues surrounding residential development are complicated and often interrelated,” wrote Dick Gassman, director of The Dalles Planning and Community Development, in his seven-page staff report. “As the first step in our review, we will take a look at the various aspects of development, what the current city policies are, and whether there are any exceptions to the current policies.”

The report offers a summary of related issues and a list of possible questions for the planning commission to consider. It also includes an additional 63 pages of related attachments including an inventory of The Dalles streets and a student of the City of Portland’s unimproved streets.

“Other cities are facing similar problems,” Gassman wrote. “Even larger cities do not have answers for many of the same issues we are facing.”

The planning commission will set the grounds rules for the work session and whether or not public comment will be heard at the meeting, Gassman said.

A few of the 11 questions posed in Gassman’s report are:

• Should the adjacent property owners be responsible for public improvements as is the current policy?

• When should public improvements be triggered?

• Should the city allow public improvements for any street without installation of a storm water system?

Gassman made no recommendation on the report, other than that the planning commission consider and discuss all the issues and options.

Gassman expects Tthe meeting to be relatively short, one to one and a half hours. The discussion is expected to continue at the commission’s Nov. 21 meeting and is expected to be the only issue on the agenda.

Find a copy of the Nov. 7 planning commission agenda and staff report online at http://bit.ly/18ZuDXr.

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