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Council pushes to bring farmlands into city

by: vern uyetake Luscher Farm is among city-owned properties Lake Oswego hopes to bring into the urban growth boundary.

The Lake Oswego City Council is pushing ahead with a plan to bring city-owned rural parks like Luscher Farm into the city.

Council members on Feb. 21 directed staff to submit an application to Metro, the regional government, to expand the urban growth boundary.

If ultimately approved by Metro, the change would pave the way for the city to build a new indoor tennis center at what is known as the Rassekh property, almost 10 acres just west of Luscher Farm at Stafford Road and Atherton Drive - inside of city limits but outside the urban growth boundary, which limits extending urban utility services to the site. Lake Oswego's existing public tennis facility has outgrown its space on Diane Drive, according to the city.

But the UGB change wouldn't be limited to the future tennis center site.

The change would bring all city-owned parks properties now outside of the urban growth boundary - except for Steven's Meadow, which is deed-restricted to open space and not contiguous with the other parks properties, and the Brock property, which is separated from the other sites by about six acres,

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Director Kim Gilmer recently told the council that officials have been walking a tightrope to balance the public's desire to use Lake Oswego's urban farming lands and the limitations set on the properties' use because of zoning, which is enforced by Clackamas County.

A majority of these outlying properties are zoned for exclusive farm use, and community gardens, organic education programs, tours and classes - all popular at Luscher Farm - aren't considered farming.

'By bringing these properties inside city limits, we don't have to make any changes to what's happening out there,' Gilmer told the city council last week. 'But it will make it easier to manage our current programs at Luscher Farm.'

The application process is expected to cost $33,000: $23,000 for a consultant's assistance and a $10,000 application fee to Metro.

In addition to voting to submit the application to Metro, the council voiced support for the ongoing effort to craft a new Luscher Farm Master Plan.




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