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Damascus has one plan to put before voters in November

On Feb. 27, 2014, the Damascus City Council approved an ordinance that included language to put forward one comprehensive land-use plan on the November ballot.

The ordinance stated that if neither of the two city-referred plans achieved the double majority threshold during the May election, the plan receiving the most votes would be forwarded to the November election.

Steve SpinnettThe Mayor’s Plan, 3-444, received the most “yes” votes of the two council referred plans. It also received more “yes” votes, 1,007, than the initiative plan 3-441with 987 votes.

Initially, when I saw the numbers, I was somewhat discouraged, but with a closer look we saw encouragement. Of the approximately 3,150 votes cast, 2,309 voted “yes” on one of the three plans in the election.

This showed me that the majority of those who voted wanted a comprehensive plan.

With three plans on the ballot; most people voted “yes” for one plan and “no” for the other two. Each plan had a 2-to-1 disadvantage right out of the gate.

Because November is a general election, it does not require a 50 percent voter turnout. So with one plan on the ballot in November, I believe the numbers show we will have a voter approved plan.

The City Council agreed through Ordinance 2014-53 that 3-444 will be the council referred plan.

The Planning Commission is in unanimous support of 3-444. They have looked at the specifics and the merits of the plan.

Going forward, we will lay out why we will refer to this comprehensive plan as the “Simplicity Plan,” how it is family friendly with specifics as to why it will keep the housing density lower, while maintaining the rural character the citizens of Damascus enjoy.

One area of major concern with the initiative plan is the required 25 percent open space for the right to develop. To my knowledge, no other city in Oregon has that policy. The Mayor’s Plan, 3-444 corrected that.

The other concern is the initiative plan required far more environmental development restrictions than what Metro requires. The mayor’s work group went with Metro’s minimum requirements, which most other cities in the region have implemented, protecting our natural resources while respecting individual property owners.

Steve Spinnett is mayor of the city of Damascus.

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