After numerous work sessions on updates to our city's comprehensive plan, the planning commission will hold its first public hearing on (Monday) Feb. 27.

At this meeting we will be discussing the 'community culture' part of the plan. This action item includes topics such as education, the arts, the library, historic preservation, civic engagement and recreation. These are all important and significant aspects of what makes Lake Oswego a great place to live. Lately however, one issue has arisen that is causing concern among some. The issue is access to Oswego Lake.

As part of the process, we need to discuss and plan for the recreational needs of our community today and in the future. Part of that discussion has included water-related recreational opportunities on Oswego Lake. Our current comprehensive plan already addresses public access to the lake.

As I see it, the question before the community now is, should the city work to enhance the ability for Lake Oswego residents to recreate in the water of Oswego Lake or is the current level of access acceptable for now and the future?

While there are those from outside the city with different ideas about 'public access,' the discussion before the planning commission is a community-driven one where we seek what is best for our city in all the aspects of community culture. This is the process through which we can ask questions, share our viewpoints, have a discussion and ultimately help shape the plan.

For anyone concerned that this has been a top-down driven policy question, let me assure you it is not. The volunteer members of the citizen advisory committee and of the planning commission have been working diligently to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to influence and to be involved in this public planning process. To comment or get involved, I encourage everyone to visit .

Jon Gustafson, Lake Oswego, is the chairman of the Lake Oswego Planning Commission.

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