Gresham removes barriers against industry
Gresham City Council was unanimous Tuesday, Dec. 19, in its approval of industrial developments within the city, even if they generate increased traffic, as long as there is a plan in place to eventually correct the issue.
The changes, via Council Bill 12-17, will allow the city to remain flexible in enticing new industrial businesses to the region, where before its hands were tied due to the lack of funds to support transportation improvements.
Most of the money for traffic issues comes from development charges, as Gresham does not have the resources to proactively build transportation improvements.
"A lot of the times the funding for the roadway improvements comes from the developments," said Steve Fancher, director of Gresham's Department of Environmental Services. "With this we can recruit industrial businesses while having a long-term plan to address transportation improvements."
With the changes industrial businesses can now be approved for development even if the level of service of roadways will temporarily not be met.
That means, for a time the amount of traffic caused by the businesses will be beyond what the city has deemed acceptable.
All this can only happen if the city has an approved plan in place to address the transportation issues. The city has placed a maximum of 5 years for the traffic issues to be solved, though the councilors stated that timeframe would be a worst-case scenario they hoped to see as an aberration rather than the trend.
These changes also match policies in place by most cities in the region, allowing Gresham to level the playing field, approve more development and create more family wage jobs. The changes will be enacted Jan. 2, 2018.
Other Council business:
• Gresham City Council voted unanimously to implement Senate Bill 1051-A. The new bill deals with processing time for affordable housing applications, allows accessory dwellings, allows affordable housing on residential land owned by religious organizations, and expands the information required of local government regarding the number of affordable housing applications processes.
• On a recommendation by Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Travis Stovall was reappointed to the Community Development and Housing subcommittee.