Brooks Resources officials outline plans for 2,500-unit development
The Broughton Room at the Crook County Library was filled to capacity Saturday morning at a open public workshop put on by Brooks Resources for a 2,500 home housing development.
Local citizens voiced their concerns about the proposed development of Hudspeth Ranch by central Oregon developer Brooks Resources.
Traffic, water, sewer and preservation of the wetlands topped the concerns that were raised by the audience.
According to Kirk Schueler, president of Brooks Resources, they are working with the city to address these issues.
"It is going to require a lot of cooperation to make this a great place. We want to hear what is important to you and hear your suggestions," said Schueler. "We have no intention of coming here and building another Bend. We're trying to create a quality extension of Prineville."
"This is going to change the face of Prineville," said Scott Cooper, Crook County Judge. "It is going to offer a broad range of housing options and new employment opportunities. It will also create issues we will have to address such as jobs and transportation. I think communities have two choices, they can either ripen or they can rot. I'm glad we decided to ripen."
Schueler, and Mike Zilis of Walker Macy, a Portland based land planning firm hired by Brooks Resources, walked the audience through a series of maps, preliminary sketches and aerial photographs of the site.
Some of the ideas that local citizens came up with were building a golf course and relocating the existing wildlife refuge that is on the property over to the wetlands.
"Another key aspect of the project is providing a circulation system. Nice streets with sidewalks and trails with walkable neighborhoods and open spaces," said Zilis.
Local business owner Evelyn Wood asked, "How much in your development process do you use local hire?"
"It is an issue that is on the forefront to us," said Schueler.
"We understand the relationship between us and the local businesses. We understand that it is not quite right to bring everyone from where we are at. We need to meet and familiarize ourselves with local builders. We fully intend to be involved in the community as a whole," Schueler. Areas have been set aside for a school as well as for a commercial area.
"We will not be building commercial that will hurt downtown. There are only 10 acres set aside for service areas," said Schueler. "We want to reflect the goals and values of the people of Prineville. What we're trying to develop is a real sense of community."
Another concern addressed by a member of the audience was the visual impact of building homes on the butte.
"The planning commission hears over and over, keep the houses off of our hillsides," claimed Don Wood.
"We are contentious about height and color and the density is not severe. They will be half acre lots at that elevation," responded Schueler.
"There are outstanding natural features of the property. They are amenities to the property. We are not going to bulldoze them over or fill them in. They add to the neighborhoods," said Schueler.
"Overall from the plans I saw, I think it will be an asset to the community," said David Reesor, City of Prineville senior planner. "I thought it was very well thought through and they had a good balanced approach with planning the site."
One citizen asked if Brooks Resources would have complete control over what was built and would there be any restrictions.
"The theme is Prineville," said Schueler. "We don't want people to feel like they have entered Disneyland. There will be CC&R's (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) and design guidelines will be enforced."
"We are concerned and vigilant about what is being built," said Zilis.
Brooks Resources purchased the land in June. They anticipate having their land use application to the City of Prineville by the first quarter of 2005. Ground breaking could begin in late 2005 or early 2006. The project is expected to take 15 to 20 years to complete. The 1,100 acres will be divided into small, medium and large home sites. They plan on building 1,000 homes on smaller lots and 1,000 homes on the medium or large lots as well as 500 multi family units, which will include apartments and townhouses. Open spaces will be scattered throughout the development and will include parks and trails accessible to everyone, not just residents of the development. A trail system leading onto Barnes Butte is also in the preliminary plans.
"It is a beautiful site. We feel, frankly, honored to be able to develop it," said Schueler.