A group of property owners have expressed interest in working with Camas to create a master plan vision for the Grass Valley area on the west side of the city.
Vancouver land use and zoning attorney Randy Printz, who represents the property owners making the proposal, spoke about the concept on Friday during the City Council’s annual planning conference. It was described as a unique opportunity to paint what is currently a “blank canvas.”
Located west of Northwest Parker Street, the property involved in the proposed 10 to 15 year Grass Valley Master Plan is primarily owned by Sharp Laboratories America, Fisher Creek Campus, LLC, Dave Lugliani, Daniel P. and William MacKay and Douglas MacDonald.
Printz said the idea would be to create a framework for a mixed-use community that could offer retail, office space, residential and a self-contained “urban village.”
“If you’ve ever been to Battle Ground and seen Battle Ground Village, that is not the model they are using but that’s an idea of how we could accomplish some of what they are talking about,” said Mayor Scott Higgins. “I’ve personally always felt like if you plopped Battle Ground Village onto 38th [Avenue] Corridor, that would work there. I don’t know that for sure, I’ll wait to hear what the numbers show. It seems like something like that would be a good fit.”
Councilman Greg Anderson said he would like to see a master plan that is aimed at creating jobs and having a true mixture of uses, not an overabundance of space for residential housing.
“Residential is not what we want, unless we collectively think that is the best path,” he said.
Higgins also stressed that future jobs would be an important part of a successful mix.
“If you think there is going to be residential, you are going to have to show how that helps us get the jobs,” he said.
Printz said the property owners plan to fund an economic market analysis to help determine what specific uses would fit best on the undeveloped properties.
A proposed Grass Valley Master Plan zoning map lists 657 acres within its boundaries. However, Printz said the total number of acres that would ultimately be included in the master plan will not be known definitively until further along in the process.
Proposed zonings on the Grass Valley Master Plan map include light industrial/business park, community commercial, regional commercial, business park, light industrial and multi-family. All of these same types of zoning designations currently exist in the area, but under the proposed master plan the number of acres classified as LI/BP would be reduced, and separate light industrial and business park zoning acreage would increase.
Camas Community Development Director Phil Bourquin said the LI/BP designation often requires setbacks of 100 to 200 feet, as well as buffers.
“When you take buffers [into account] and then you start taking setbacks [into account], you really start affecting your actual usable land,” he said. “As part of the 2016 [comprehensive plan] update, we know that’s something we’re going to have to look at and figure out what we are going to do generally with the LI/BP.”
Bourquin said the master planning effort for the Grass Valley area properties will most likely be wrapped into the city’s update of its 2004 comprehensive plan and development regulations — an effort that is required by the state’s Growth Management Act.
The visioning process for that update will begin this spring, with the comprehensive plan scheduled for completion in June 2016. The property owners’ master plan could also include development agreements with the city focusing on densities and development standards.
“I think the timing is exactly right for us to see if we can make something work [with a Grass Valley Master Plan],” Bourquin said. “At the same time, we’re having a visioning process and that visioning will focus on the whole city, and this is part of the whole.”
City Administrator Pete Capell described the potential partnership as unique.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “You don’t often see larger property owners aggregating their property to plan together. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of.”