City will work on plan to be finalized by March 2015

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - SHOP AND SLEEP? - Future King City Plaza may include residences depending on study results.The King City Plaza may feature a different look in the future, thanks to a Metro grant.

The King City City Council on Nov. 6 voted 6 to 0 to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Metro that will provide $75,000 to the city to develop a plan to upgrade the shopping center; Metro officials were expected to sign the IGA by the end of November.

"We are really excited about this," said Keith Liden, city planner, at the council meeting. "We will take a look at the town center and what the market will support... We will get information from market analysts before we start creating a plan, and we will start engaging with property owners and folks."

City Manager Dave Wells added, "We need such basic information as sewer capacity and water capacity. A lot of this information is already out there through such entities as Clean Water Services and the city of Tigard, and we will take it and put it in one pot."

Following the meeting, Wells explained, "The real goal is to provide more opportunities for the Plaza."

He said that the current zoning designation is limited commercial, "which is very restrictive and has been in place since the '60s or '70s."

Wells added, "That primarily limits use to retail. We have the potential to expand the uses, such as maybe adding residences. We need to look at the economic viability and what the future trends are.

"But our goal is not to mess with success and to be responsive to what people want. If the zoning is changed, we would update the city codes and create options for redevelopment or new development.

"We don't want to create a plan that just sits there. We want to use it to provide more opportunities. Maybe we will end up with apartments above retail because there is a trend to build in a way that people can rely on public transportation and decrease the need to drive everywhere. Whatever we do, we want to try and keep this from becoming too urban, and we have no intention of changing the residential uses in King City."

Liden explained to the council that the planning process is expected to wrap up in March 2015 and gave a breakdown of the cost for each portion.

The first step is finalizing the project team plus the scope and schedule by February 2014 (at a cost of $3,500); coming up with a report on the existing conditions, including a land-use inventory, by March 2014 ($21,000); and developing and reviewing planning alternatives, including holding a public-input "charrette" by May 2014 ($16,500).

By October 2014, the process should produce a King City Town Center draft plan and implementation strategy ($14,000) that would include a public open house and review by the Planning Commission and City Council ($11,000); and by March 2015, following a public hearing and recommendation by the Planning Commission, the City Council would hold a public hearing and formally adopt the plan and development code amendments ($9,000).

According to Liden, Murray, Smith & Associates will be the consultants on the project, and he will be the project manager.

He pointed out that the multi-day "charrette" to gather public opinion is key to the process and that refinements would be made to the plan based on public input.

"The public will be involved on the first day of the charrette," Liden said. "We will ask questions like, 'What do you like about the town center?' and 'What don't you like?' We want to get everybody engaged. (The week of the charrette) is the most important week of the process."

When Councilor Malka Sekey questioned whether the plan would be fairly complete before the public had a chance to weigh in, Liden told her that an open house could be held before the charrette.

"I think it's important to have a flow of ideas at the beginning," Sekey said. "This is exciting."

Funding for the process comes from a construction excise tax imposed by Metro throughout its jurisdiction to fund regional and local planning that is required to make land ready for development after inclusion in the urban growth boundary.

King City in April submitted a CET grant application to Metro to produce a King City Town Center Plan and Implementation Strategy "that will enable the city to create a mix-use and pedestrian- and transit-friendly community on the 99W corridor."

The application noted that many of the ingredients for success were already in place, adding, "What the city needs is a modest, one-time investment to translate the town center planning concepts created for the King City/Summerfield area into a definitive plan and detailed strategy for implementation."

King City's role in the process includes contacting property owners, involving the private sector and a contract city engineer, guaranteeing the match by contributing $15,000 and addressing how this project would leverage the work being done on the Southwest Corridor Plan.

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