Seaside will take a wait-and-see attitude to future urban growth boundary changes.
With changes in methodology and uncertainty as to the city’s demographic patterns, the Planning Commission unanimously tabled discussions on Seaside’s future population growth and land-use needs.
Clatsop County currently provides municipalities with 20-year forecast data to determine future needs.
Seaside wants to consider a 14-year timetable as recommended by the Portland State University Population Center. The center provides population data, information, research and analysis for cities in Oregon. Both demographic methods are acceptable under new changes to Oregon law.
According to Portland State University numbers, Seaside had 6,585 residents as of July 1, about a fifth of the county’s more than 37,000 residents.
“The state told us, ‘Wait until Portland State University has better figures,’” Seaside City Planner Kevin Cupples said Tuesday.
The 14-year forecast will replace “the city’s projected growth figure that can be used when you’re looking at what you need for buildable land,” Cupples said.
The state requires cities and municipalities to maintain a line around their perimeters to moderate urban sprawl. If more land is needed to accommodate expanding urban population, land is zoned and annexed into the city when landowners outside the boundary choose.
The consequences of using a 14- versus 20-year urban growth boundary expansion time line would vary, said Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development Rural Policy Analyst Sadie Carney.
“The 14-year ‘simplified’ process is intended to be much easier for cities to employ and less likely to be appealed,” Carney said.
New urban growth boundary rules went into effect in January, authorizing small cities under 10,000 to use a simplified evaluation.
This had been the amount of land needed as suggested in a final report prepared by the consultant HLB Otak and delivered to the city in February. The report considered a 20-year urban projection.
The analysis showed the growth boundary would require about 197 additional acres to satisfy the city’s projected population.
Using a 14-year span, the amount of land required would be scaled back nearly 30 percent, to 137.5 acres, to satisfy the city’s projected population, according to Otak.
“The Planning Commission was interested in using a kind of throttled back population figure rather than using the full 20-year that was part of their original projection,” Cupples said.
Commissioners were concerned they were taking “a big bite of the land,” Cupples said.“One of our planning commissioners said, ‘I’d feel more comfortable looking at an estimated 14 rather than 20.”