State regulators lay out legal path for possible UGB approval
Staffers from the state Department of Land Conservation and Development said Friday there could be a legal path forward for regulators to approve Metro's 2011 urban growth boundary expansion.
In a supplemental staff report to the department's initial recommendations from April, state staffers laid out the logic behind a potential approval of the 2011 expansion. The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission is set to finish its review of the expansion in Salem on Thursday.
"We haven't changed our recommendation on anything," said Rob Hallyburton, manager of the department's Community Services Division. "But the commission asked what we thought was a route to approve it, and we have laid that out as best we could."
Metro planners and attorneys were still reviewing the supplemental report late Friday afternoon and had no comment.
Last month, LCDC members said they seemed ready to "accept," or approve, the 1,985-acre expansion.
In the six page supplemental report, state staffers say, for example, that Metro's interpretation of urbanization rules were "plausible" when it chose what parts of the urban reserves to study for UGB expansion. It said "The commission could determine that the submittal achieved the purpose of" statewide planning goals.
With regard to the state staff's initial recommendation that Metro thoroughly analyze all of the region's possible employment land, the supplemental report said "the commission could find that the failure to address site characteristics 'necessary for a particular industrial or other employment use to operate' as 'minor in nature.'"
This doesn't make the expansion a done deal. Commissioners could change their minds before Thursday's meeting. Also, the state department still has not issued an order to finalize the designation of urban and rural reserves, meaning that land designation doesn't technically exist.
Hallyburton said the department is hoping to have the reserves order issued by Thursday's meeting.