Envision Eugene is our collective vision for how we will grow
while preserving what we love about our community.

Envision Eugene Newsletter
What's New with Envision Eugene?
March 2nd, 2017
Over the past few weeks we have addressed some of the most common questions we have been hearing about the urban growth boundary (UGB) proposal. Two weeks ago we covered the topic of housing and last week we covered the topic of data and assumptions built into the UGB analysis. This week we answer questions we have heard about the UGB expansions and the potential impacts on natural resources and existing neighborhoods. Read more below, or find the latest information on our website.
Where are the UGB expansion areas? 
The UGB proposal includes two expansion areas to address our community needs for jobs, parks and a school. The first expansion is proposed in the Clear Lake area. This 924 acre expansion would accommodate about 3,000 jobs, a 54 acre school site and a 222 acre community park. The second expansion is in the Santa Clara area, where 35 acres have been identified to accommodate a community park.
 
You can watch this video to learn more about the expansions or check out the proposed Clear Lake and Santa Clara expansions on our website under Topic Areas.
Is there any way to avoid expanding onto farmland?
The Southern Willamette Valley has a lot of high quality soil for farming, making UGB expansion difficult without impacting agricultural areas. In considering this expansion, we attempted to balance all seven pillars of Envision Eugene, including protecting our natural resources, providing economic opportunities and protecting neighborhood livability.

In accordance with state law and our community values, high quality farmland was only considered for accommodating a UGB expansion after considering all other types of land. Lands devoted to another use, such as rural residential or industrial areas, and land of marginal farm value were all considered before looking at high quality farmland. 

For the parks and school land, the specific location of the expansion was largely driven by concerns about equitable distribution of services in Eugene. The proposed parks would be located in Bethel and Santa Clara, addressing the needs of these under-served neighborhoods. The proposed school site responds to the Bethel School District's identified need for a school in the Clear Lake area.

For employment land, the location was driven by the land characteristics required by our targeted industries - large, flat sites near freight routes. Much of the area around Eugene is either hilly (the south portion of town), or constrained by floodplain or protected wetlands (near the rivers and Amazon Creek). The land that was flat enough, large enough, and near enough to transportation is entirely composed of farmland. With this in mind, the expansion area is planned to minimize the impact to farmland by consolidating the expansion for jobs into one area that is already surrounded by non-farm uses (Eugene Airport to the west, existing industrial areas to the north and east, and the Bethel neighborhood to the south).
Aren't there a lot of wetlands in the Clear Lake area?
Early in the process of exploring a possible expansion into the Clear Lake area, the presence of wetlands was raised as a two-fold concern - that we would lose a valuable natural resource, or that protected wetlands might make the area undevelopable. 

The City of Eugene worked with two consultants to determine the best way to address those concerns. One consultant helped us map and evaluate the particular functions of the wetlands in the area, and the other explored the potential impacts of protecting, partially protecting, or not protecting those wetlands with local regulations.

These studies showed that most of the wetlands in the Clear Lake area had been farmed for decades, which limited their ecological value. Some wetlands in the southern part of the area were deemed "locally significant" (a legal distinction) primarily for their water quality properties. Based on this evaluation, the UGB proposal includes water quality protections for key wetlands and channels, while allowing flexibility in the rest of the area for wetlands to be retained or developed. In the event that wetlands are developed, other wetlands in the region would be enhanced, a process called wetland mitigation.
What about health impacts to residents of Bethel?
The Bethel neighborhood is already adjacent to a significant amount of industrial activity and concerns have been raised about the negative health impacts of increasing this exposure. Furthermore, the pillars of Envision Eugene call on us balance the values of neighborhood livability, natural resources, and economic development.

To address the concerns we have heard, the proposed Clear Lake expansion includes several elements that seek to prevent additional health impacts and improve quality of life in the Bethel area. At a large scale, the planned land uses transition in intensity from south to north, with the proposed park and school creating a buffer between the neighborhood to the south and the industrial uses to the north. Further, the industrial uses are planned so that the least intense uses are closest to the neighborhood and the most intense uses are closest to the airport. This map shows this transition.

The UGB proposal also includes regulations and provisions to significantly limit pollution, excessive noise, and other negative impacts throughout the area. These regulations are contained in the proposed Clear Lake Overlay Zone.
Learn More and Provide Testimony

Fact Sheets
In addition to the links provided above, you may want to read our Santa Clara and Clear Lake expansion area fact sheets. 

Adoption Package - February Update
In preparation for the Joint Planning Commission Public Hearing, the Envision Eugene team has updated portions of the January 2017 Proposed UGB Package. This February Update is limited to minor corrections, clarifications and additions. Typographical and other minor edits will be addressed during deliberations after the public hearing, in addition to other alterations recommended by the Planning Commissions.

March 7th Work Session and Public Hearing
You are encouraged to attend the work session and public hearing on March 7th. The work session will include a presentation about the UGB proposal followed by an open house with informational materials on display and available to take home. You will also have the opportunity to ask staff questions before the hearing. The public hearing that will follow offers members of the public the opportunity to provide verbal testimony to both Commissions.  Written testimony can be provided by email or regular mail at any time.

City of Eugene and Lane County
Planning Commissions
March 7th
6pm Work Session
7pm Public Hearing
Harris Hall, 125 E 8th Ave
Eugene OR

To subscribe to Envision Eugene, email envisioneugene@ci.eugene.or.us and tell us you would like to receive our emails. Thanks for your interest, and as always, please let us know if we can answer any questions about Envision Eugene.
City of Eugene Planning & Development Department
99 W. 10th Avenue | Eugene | OR | 97401