Goal 14 of the Oregon State Land Use Planning program is Urbanization, which guides land use plans and planners towards creating “orderly and efficient transition(s) from rural to urban land use” and gives some general guidance on urban area expansions. Staff has heard from community leaders and members concerns about urban area expansion for many of our incorporated cities, and although recent work by the City of The Dalles Planning Department indicates a supply of available land within the city limits for required 20 years of growth and development, we anticipate discussions about the expansion of our urban areas to be a topic of interest throughout the Wasco County 2040 process.

To understand the fundamentals of UGBs and some of the challenges to development beyond land availability, the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association produced a nine page primer that is available for download here: http://www.oregonapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-Challenges-to-Development-OAPA-FINAL-Feb2017.pdf

Highlighted in their analysis, are the challenges to development including the cost of building new infrastructure (and maintaining existing infrastructure), the need for denser housing development not appropriate at the urban edge, and additional barriers to housing development including finance.  Wasco County and our incorporated cities have many of these challenges.  In addition, several of our incorporated areas are bordered by high value farmland that is very productive for agriculture or by topographical features not capable of being developed, which further limits areas for expansion.

We would love to hear more community feedback about urbanization and UGB expansion in Wasco County.  Get in touch and get involved to share your thoughts!