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Some Stafford residents scheme for early UGB inclusion

A vision plan for the Stafford Hamlet will be completed in 2008

TUALATIN - Residents joke about the infighting and scheming that plagues the Stafford Triangle area. Some landowners vehemently oppose development of any kind, and others can't wait for the day when the urban growth boundary envelops their land, creating a demand and high-dollar price for their properties. They've squabbled back and forth for about 10 years, some making deals that bring them ever closer to development dollars only to be slapped down.

But even the chairwoman of the Clackamas County-supported Stafford Hamlet didn't see this coming: A group of landowners recently approached the city of Tualatin and asked for help in securing early inclusion into the UGB - a request that was sweetened with the idea of annexation into Tualatin.

'There's still people working on their own plans,' said Chairwoman Carol Yamada after learning of the request. 'We're moving at the speed we are and not at the speed some would like.'

The creation of the Stafford Hamlet was supposed to open up lines of communication. After one year, the hamlet's 10-member elected board has coordinated a Stafford vision plan process intended to create a development plan for the area.

The hamlet, said Yamada, is striving to create a plan that provides a compromise for landowners on both sides of the development fence and perhaps will give a guideline to Metro when it looks at expanding the UGB in 2010.

But as proven by the latest request, some landowners aren't willing to wait.

The residents who approached the city of Tualatin own about 600 acres of land that runs from just south of the Tualatin River to I-205. The entire Stafford Hamlet area includes 4,000 acres of urban land that lie between the city limits of Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn.

Landowners asked Tualatin city officials to consider pursuing proposed Metro ordinance 07-1154, also known as the Hostika amendment after Metro Councilor Carl Hostika, which, if approved, would provide another opportunity during non-UGB expansion years for land to be added inside the boundary for residential development.

The Tualatin City Council opted not to act on the landowners' request. The City Council chose instead to continue observing the hamlet process, said Tualatin Community Develop-ment Director Doug Rux.

During a council work session Dec. 10, Tualatin Council President Ed Truax called the move by landowners to approach the city 'a screaming indictment of the hamlet process.'

'One of the things they must be learning in the hamlet village must be that land-development planning is not as easy or slam-dunk as they thought it was,' Truax said.

Yamada said the Stafford Hamlet vision plan should be completed in 2008. The planning process is in the first of three phases.

One of the subsequent phases will include a public outreach portion.

'That's where things will get exciting,' Yamada promised.