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Scappoose eyes code change to attract colleges

Community colleges could be built in light industrial, airport zones

COURTNEY VAUGHN - Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge talks about future growth in the city during a Scappoose City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 16. To his left, Councilors Jeff Erickson and Joel Haugen listen to comments.

A modification to Scappoose’s development code could invite higher education facilities to the city’s light industrial and airport zones.

The Scappoose City Council tentatively approved an amendment to the city’s development code to add community colleges as a permitted conditional use in light industrial and update the definition of airport compatible light industrial uses to include colleges.

The move, which is expected to be finalized with a second reading next month, was a further attempt to appeal to Portland Community College, which has pledged to build a campus of some kind in Columbia County by 2017.

The proposed change to the city’s development code was recommended by the city’s Planning Commission.

It’s unclear exactly when or where PCC will build a new site, but the

college indicated a preference to

develop in Scappoose during its location scouting efforts in Columbia County.

“PCC has expressed interest in several parcels north of the city that are in the urban growth boundary but not in the city limits,” Laurie Oliver, the city’s associate planner, told city councilors Monday evening, Nov. 16. “They’ve also looked at a few parcels in the [public use airport] zone.”

Previously, PCC told city officials it would need about 20 acres to develop an educational facility here, she said.

Councilors discussed putting a limit on the acreage that could be used for future colleges in the light industrial or airport UGB areas, before agreeing on 50 acres as a reasonable cap on development by a single entity in those zones.

Oliver said colleges weren’t listed as a permitted or conditional use in those zones, so the code amendment would make those sites more attractive to entities like PCC.

Despite PCC’s indecision in choosing a site, the city of Scappoose has taken several steps to accommodate the community college network. Earlier this month, voters approved a measure that would allow land to be annexed into the city without needing citywide voter approval. The ballot measure was pitched as a way to make it easier for developers and businesses to build on land within the Scappoose UGB without costly, lengthy election requirements.

During that same special election, voters also incorporated about 22 acres of light industrial land into the city’s limits.

The college is expected to announce its choice for a development site by the end of the year, Mayor Scott Burge said Monday.