- Bill Schaffer
- Central Oregonian - News
WEB - GUEST OPINION - Reesor
City of Prineville staff is working with DMC Consulting Services on writing the city's first independent comprehensive plan. This plan will guide urban growth over the next twenty years. Because of Prineville's small size and the fact that it is the only incorporated city within Crook County, the city has historically used the County's comprehensive plan to guide development. However, with the recent Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion last summer and the increasing number of people moving into the city, a fresh look at how to plan growth is needed.
A comprehensive plan is just that - comprehensive. It looks at all aspects of urban development, including, but not limited to, transportation, public facilities (i.e. water and sewer), open space, and housing. The plan is a legally binding document that creates policies, which help guide land use decisions within the city. A comprehensive plan takes a balanced approach to sometimes conflicting issues, such as preservation of open space and designation of land for urban-level development. The ultimate goal of a comprehensive plan is to enhance the livability of a city by guiding growth in a coherent manner, and balancing all forms of development and conservation.
Since 1973, the state has required cities to plan for new development within their UGB boundaries by creating comprehensive plans. The UGB is a line designated to contain 20 years worth of urban-level growth. Thus, a comprehensive plan guides growth for the next two decades, consistent with the UGB. The plan is revisited every five to 10 years under the Periodic Review process. Comprehensive plan amendments are also possible between Periodic Review processes, allowing cities to revise certain aspects of the plan if needed. A comprehensive plan must be consistent with Oregon's Statewide Planning Goals, which address issues ranging from natural resource use and preservation to economic development. Supporting "master plans" are also developed to provide more specific guidelines that complement the general land use policies set forth in a comprehensive plan.
The next several months are an exciting and critical time for Prineville. Once adopted by the city council and Crook County, the Prineville Comprehensive Plan will guide new development for decades to come. Like other parts of central Oregon, Prineville is on the verge of a tremendous growth spurt. The new comprehensive plan will help the city accommodate this growth, which is required by state law, while striving to still maintain the small-town atmosphere that Prineville residents enjoy today. The first draft of the Prineville Comprehensive Plan is based on local values and will be modified after the city receives public input. The draft of the Prineville Comprehensive Plan outlines ways of accomplishing its goals by establishing policies requiring "complete neighborhoods." This approach will help mix neighborhood commercial services, schools, churches and other compatible uses with residential neighborhoods. Ultimately, this will allow residents to walk to a local market or neighborhood park if they choose, helping to maintain Prineville's small-town atmosphere as the city grows.
The first draft of the Prineville Comprehensive Plan was recently released for public input. In order to guide future growth in the right direction, it is critical to have as much citizen input as possible. This plan should ultimately represent the vision and goals of Prineville residents: this means you!
We look forward to hearing from you!