Planning commission recommends Green Mountain PRD approval

City Council will make a decision July 20

"If the Green Mountain PRD passes, our Camas leaders will have guaranteed higher taxes, a diminished quality of life and traffic Armageddon for at least 15, maybe 20, years."

-- Mark Martin

“If the Green Mountain PRD passes, our Camas leaders will have guaranteed higher taxes, a diminished quality of life and traffic Armageddon for at least 15, maybe 20, years.”

— Mark Martin

The Camas Planning Commission has recommended approval of a planned residential development that will eventually bring up to 1,300 new home sites to Camas. The project will now be deliberated by the Camas City Council.

The 5-0 vote on June 16 pertained to the PRD and a preliminary plat application for its first phase, which includes 201 lots on 51 acres. The planning commission also recommended that the City Council negotiate a larger recreational park for the development.

The hearing on the Green Mountain PRD, which began May 12, was re-opened because of an issue with the date on signs that announced the first meeting.

The most recent hearing included several hours of public testimony, during which time concerns were expressed about how the development would impact traffic, and whether there has been adequate planning for water, sewer and road infrastructure in the area that is currently largely rural.

Some testified that they were not against growth in a general sense, but took exception to the size of the Green Mountain PRD, which includes single- and multi-family residential homes on 283 acres. The development area is bordered by Northeast Ingle Road and Northeast Goodwin Road.

In addition to the residential units, the mixed-use development agreement calls for 8.8 acres of commercial development in the form of an “urban village” with ground floor employment/commercial use. There would also be a community park, residents’ clubhouse, open space and trail system.

Mark Martin has led a citizen group that is opposing Green Mountain PRD. An online petition has garnered approximately 275 signatures. He said the city is not prepared to take on this project.

“If the Green Mountain PRD passes, our Camas leaders will have guaranteed higher taxes, a diminished quality of life and traffic Armageddon for at least 15, maybe 20, years for this part of Camas and east county,” he said. “If you insist on changing our lives forever, at least begin to fund proactive infrastructure improvements now. Or, consider scaling back massive projects like Green Mountain PRD and definitely delay implementation of this incompletely planned project until the public supports such a monumental decision.”

Michelle Gregory, who lives on Northeast 232nd Avenue, moved to the area in August 2013.

“I’m not saying we can’t develop, because we need to,” she said. “I think we need to take a step back. We need our rural areas, and we need areas where people can have land and still be able to commute into work.”

Gregory travels from her home to her job in Portland.

“I am afraid that with these changes I’m not going to be able to maintain that, because I will be looking at a three-hour commute to work,” she said. “Let’s have a regroup, and look at what best fits in this part of the north east county area and fits in with the homes and rural area that we have.”

John Grosboll, a resident of Northeast 19th Street, said the size of the Green Mountain PRD will overburden the area’s environment and infrastructure. “I live in a home, most of us live in a home, that was somebody’s pasture some time ago,” he said. “So it’s not about stopping development, but doing something in what most people perceive is a more intelligent way than what we see here.”

Randy Printz, who represents the applicant, Green Mountain Land, LLC, said planning for the area through a PRD is preferred over a situation where each property owner develops separately.

“It would have no coordination of trails, no coordination of utilities, no coordination of landscaping, or functional integration of architecture,” he said of the latter. “You would get a stand-alone box or you’d get a minit-mart, a gas station and a stand-alone something down in the southwest corner.”

“Doing the project (through a PRD) is actually economically better,” he added. “It creates a better project.”

Planning Manager Robert Maul responded to criticism that the city has not adequately planned for this level of development.

“You are going to see increased traffic, you are going to see increased population in the schools. There is going to be increased demands on services and facilities,” he said. “We are aware of that. I just want the public to know that we plan for that through this GMA process. That is what set the table for this area in 2007.”

While the city of Camas will be providing services to the area including utilities and emergency response, children living within the boundaries of the new development would attend the Evergreen School District.

“We are well aware this is going to impact schools,” Maul said. “We have been coordinating with Evergreen schools where the students will be going for this particular project. We recognize there is growth coming. We see it every day. We are partnering with the district to make sure we are addressing that.”

Complete build-out of the Green Mountain development is predicted to take 15 years, depending on market conditions. Each phase will need to go through an approval process.

“There will be additional public process with this,” Maul said.

The PRD and phase one preliminary plat application will be on the agenda of the July 20 City Council meeting.