City of Damascus, Oregon Town Hall Meeting Focuses on Parks and Water Infrastructure

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Damascus, Oregon moves the Comprehensive Plan development process forward with a well-attended town hall meeting January 12th, 2013, examining future parks and water infrastructure.

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“Parks would be developed as subdivisions are developed. The City of Damascus is not planning to levy taxes to pay for parks,” stated John Morgan, Director of Community Development for the City of Damascus.

The City of Damascus hosted the seventh in a long series of town halls moving toward the development of the Comprehensive Plan on Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Over 50 people attended the event at City Hall to discuss the parks and public water facilities elements of the Comprehensive Plan.

Parks and open spaces are the most visible amenities in a community and are a large part of the statewide planning goals. Complementing the rural character with a park and open space system is the primary goal in developing a master plan for the city of Damascus. National standards suggest that 450 acres be designated for parks usage in Damascus over the next 20 years.

“The purpose of the Town Hall was to ask people what they want to see with their parks,” says Elise Scolnick, Senior Planner for the City of Damascus.

Requests for several different types of parks were made, including a Heroes Memorial Park, a dog park, and biking trails.

Questions arose about public safety in the parks and open spaces and how the parks would be paid for by residents.

“Parks would be developed as subdivisions are developed. The City of Damascus is not planning to levy taxes to pay for parks,” stated John Morgan, Director of Community Development for the City of Damascus.

There is also a regional effort to purchase large amounts of natural area. The burden is not all on the city to make such a purchase.

Public Facilities

The public facilities plan will guide what the city requires developers to provide when building. The purpose is to meet statewide planning requirements for water infrastructure facilities for the first 20 years after the Comprehensive Plan is adopted.

“The objective was to convey results of the integrative water capital plan and ask for feedback about water structures,” said Emily Callaway, CH2MHill Water Resources Engineer.

The main concern from the citizens at the Town Hall is the cost to taxpayers. “Growth pays for growth,” answered Dave Green, City Engineer.

The population of Damascus is estimated to grow from 10,000 today to 29,000 in 20 years.

After each Town Hall meeting, the Planning Commission will consider the input from the citizens before making recommendations to the City Council for consideration.

Future Town Halls (All are tentatively scheduled for 1:00 to 3:00. Locations will be determined):

February 2    Transportation System Plan (part 1)
February 23 – Land Use, Housing, Economic Development, Parks and Zoning Map
March 16 – Transportation System Plan (part 2)
April 6 – Development Code and Zoning Map
April 27 – Comprehensive Plan and Development Code

Public Hearings on the draft Comprehensive Plan, Development Code, Public Facility Plan, and Transportation System Plan will be held in May, June, and July. It is anticipated the draft plans will be on the November 2013 election ballot for citizen approval.

For a complete schedule on the Comprehensive Plan Schedule, please go to http://ci.damascus.or.us/

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John N. Morgan AICP, Community Development Director
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