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Metro moves against Troutdale

Agency says Troutdale has failed to adopt codes, despite four deadline extensions

Troutdale has attracted the ire of Metro Regional Government for not approving new land-use codes to protect wildlife and natural areas, leading Metro to punish a city for the first time.

The Metro Council unanimously voted Tuesday, Feb. 7, to take enforcement action against Troutdale for not being compliant with Metro's Title 13, despite extending the deadline four times for the city to approve new land-use codes.

The Troutdale City Council voted unanimously on Nov. 8 to reject proposed changes to the city code that would have brought it in compliance with Title 13.

Known as 'Nature in Neighborhoods,' Title 13 protects wildlife habitat and water quality by setting limits on development in environmentally sensitive areas.

Title 13 is part of Metro's Urban Growth Management Function Plan, a long-term growth plan through 2040. Metro requires the three counties and 25 cities in its jurisdiction to have codes that comply with the plan's sections.

In a Metro news story, Council President Tom Hughes said Troutdale had shown no interest in being compliant with the codes and seemed to be asking, 'What are you going to do if we don't? I think we need to answer that question.'

But Mayor Jim Kight said he believes the city is complying with Title 13 through its city codes, which already restrict development in natural areas and protect natural habitats.

'We feel Troutdale is complying with Title 13 and has been for a number of years,' he said. 'We've asked Metro where we're not in compliance, and they've failed to show us.'

Kight said the regulations apply to natural areas such as along the Sandy River and Beaver Creek (where his residence is located). He said he was concerned that more rules and regulations would burden property owners as well as hamper the city's development efforts at the urban renewal site on the Sandy River, which the city is trying to clean up.

According to Metro, there will be a public hearing on it's proposed enforcement action within 90 days.

Troutdale City Administrator Craig Ward said he is in contact with Metro officials and is waiting to learn when the hearing will take place.

If Metro does take enforcement action, it cannot force Troutdale to comply with Title 13, but it can implement its own Title 13 compliance measures in the city until the city meets Metro's standards. Metro can also withhold regional funding and even ask the state to withhold liquor and gas tax distributions from the city.

Metro is in ongoing discussions with Fairview, Damascus and Portland to line up their land-use codes with Title 13. The other 21 cities in the region have met the requirements, according to Metro.




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