North Shore ‘visioning workshop’ set for Feb. 4

City leaders want community to help plan area north of Lacamas Lake

Community members interested in contributing to the vision of what Camas’ North Shore area might someday look like are invited to a visioning workshop from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Camas High School, 26900 S.E. 15th St., Camas.

It has been more than six years since Camas City Council members approved an agreement designed to guide future development in “North Shore,” a nearly 800-acre swath of land that extends to Camas’ northern city limits and is bordered by Lacamas Lake, Northeast 232nd Avenue and Everett Street.

Planning for the North Shore began in the early 2000s, after members of the Mills and Johnston families — who owned hundreds of acres in the North Shore area — started talking about their desire to see the area, then home to dairy farms and forests, converted into a mixed-use community where residential neighborhoods commingled with business parks and open spaces.

In 2008, the city of Camas annexed the rural properties into its inventory of urban land.

In 2013, city officials designated zones for the North Shore that were to include 314 acres for an industrial business park development, 100 acres for multifamily housing, 40 acres for single-family housing and nearly 6 acres for community commercial uses.

The first zoning only included 4 acres for open space near Lacamas Lake, but city leaders have since acquired 100 acres to conserve as forested land and natural space and create a multi-use trail that will someday circle Lacamas Lake.

That and other land acquisitions since the zoning decisions in 2013 mean city leaders need to reconfigure their overhead view of the area, said Camas Senior Planner Sarah Fox.

“Back in 2010 and 2013, the property owners still weren’t too sure what they were planning to do, but now, several have sold their land to the city,” Fox said.

The sale included about 40 acres of North Shore land that city leaders had earmarked for residential development, but that will now become part of the city’s planned trail network around the lake and greenspace protected for future generations.

“The continuous trail network is no longer just a vision,” Fox said. “This is happening.”

And now that the city owns several “major pieces of land” in the North Shore, which city leaders plan to protect from residential and commercial development, city officials have reached out to the community to see what Camas residents want to see in the North Shore.

The city started its outreach efforts in September 2019, posing questions to the community on social media sites, creating a “frequently asked questions” document for people to access online and interviewing property owners and community leaders throughout the fall.

On Nov. 21, the city held a community forum to discuss the North Shore and explain what subarea planning entails.

The city does not have to plan the area at such a detailed level. As Fox recently told the Post-Record, the zoning designations in North Shore that city leaders passed in 2013 mean the area could be developed by private housing and commercial developers. In fact, some businesses have expressed interest in siting in North Shore already, Fox said. If city leaders decide to go into “phase two” of the subarea planning, the city could develop a more detailed set of planning guidelines for the North Shore that are based on the values community members express during this “phase one” outreach.

Community members will have another chance to weigh in on some of those ideas for the North Shore at the city’s visioning workshop on Feb. 4. The workshop will include a report of information the city has gathered through its public outreach efforts and give participants a chance to engage in a group activity that helps map the future of the North Shore.

For more information about the North Shore subarea and the city’s outreach efforts, visit camas northshore.com.

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