Council awaits green light on project that would bump up citys population

The Washington County Board of Commissioners recently approved an ordinance change that would allow the city of Banks to include an almost 150-acre section of land near the Quail Valley Golf Course in the Urban Growth Boundary.

The county adopted the ordinance last Tuesday, May 21, and the appeal period lasts 30 days.

Officials with Quail Valley Golf Corp., which owns the acreage, will need to apply to the city planning commission to be annexed into the UGB.

After receiving applications, planning-commission members would then make a recommendation to the city council. If the council moves forward with it, Banks citizens would vote on the proposal in a special election.

The land includes the golf course (zoned for recreational use) and six acres in the center of the course that will likely be developed for houses. Twenty acres south of the course — already included in the UGB — will also likely be developed.

The Banks City Council and Washington County commissioners already approved a 248-acre UGB expansion last year, which included residential and commercial/industrial land. Banks planning commissioners are still waiting for citizens within that expanded area to apply to be included.

Successful expansion could double Banks’ current population of 1,800 to between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the next 10 to 20 years.

Residents are split on the issue, according to interim City Manager Jolynn Becker, who said she hasn’t heard a lot of discussion on the matter in recent days. Some worry about losing the small-town feel, while others think growth will be good for businesses and property values, she said.

“I think a lot of people want it to be a slow process, and make sure it’s planned out so it all goes in the right direction,” Becker said.

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