Camas approves North Shore Vision Statement

City planners hope document will guide development of 800-acre, mixed-use area northeast of Lacamas Lake

The Camas City Council has approved the North Shore Vision Statement, an eight-point document that will, if city leaders OK the next phase of subarea planning, guide future development in the city’s 800-acre mixed-use area northeast of Lacamas Lake known as North Shore.

At the council’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 21, Councilwoman Bonnie Carter commended Sarah Fox, the city’s head planner, and other staff for their work on the first phase of subarea planning in the North Shore.

“I know there was a lot of outreach and some challenging meetings,” Carter said, referring to the planning team’s yearlong efforts to involve the community in the creation of the eight-point North Shore Vision Statement.

“We had seven months of outreach and conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders about their visions for the North Shore,” Fox told the Camas Planning Commissioners in August. “We really had great turnout throughout this entire project.”

Fox told city councilors earlier this month, during a Sept. 8 council workshop, that the second phase of North Shore subarea planning would allow the city to create new regulations and policies that would help the area develop in a unique and community-minded way.

“This allows us to plan for what we want in an area instead of just reacting,” Fox said. “If a company buys 400 acres and moves forward with what zoning allows them to do today, they would have the right as a landowner to move forward, (and) maybe the current codes in place aren’t super consistent with what we imagine this area to be in 20 years.”

Now is a good time to “fine tune regulations” so North Shore can be more like the mixed-use, environmentally conscious area many Camas residents have expressed a desire for.

The North Shore Vision Statement is the result of a public outreach campaign that started in August 2019 and included high school students, hundreds of community members, stakeholder groups and North Shore landowners and city officials.

Of the 800 acres included in the North Shore, 270 acres are publicly owned and the remainder are owned by private individuals.

Following is the text of the North Shore Vision Statement unanimously approved by city councilors on Monday:

Preserve the North Shore’s natural beauty and environmental health. Policies, regulations and design rules must protect significant trees, tree groves, and surrounding lakes. Identify and preserve views to the treed hillside and the lake.

Plan a network of green spaces and recreational opportunities. Integrate a variety of parks, playgrounds, trails and open spaces into residential and employment areas throughout the North Shore area. Create a “green corridor” along the lake that completes the Heritage Trail, provides lake access and buffers the lake from adjacent development.

Cluster uses for a walkable community. Concentrate homes close to schools and around commercial nodes so residents can meet daily needs without driving. Use sidewalks, pedestrian trails and bike paths to connect residents to neighborhood destinations.

Provide a variety of housing options. Plan for diverse housing types appropriate for varying incomes, sizes and life stages.

Locate Industrial Parks and Commercial Centers to the north. Protect the environmental integrity of the lake and aesthetic quality of the area by siting light industrial and office uses away from the lake and adjacent to the airport. Encourage commercial activities along high traffic corridors, such as Northeast Everett Street.

Favor local-serving businesses. Encourage small, local businesses such as restaurants, cafes and grocers that serve North Shore residents and businesses, while complimenting downtown Camas.

Plan for needed schools and infrastructure. Ensure adequate roads, schools and utilities are in place before development occurs. Invest in transportation improvements such as a new roadway through the North Shore and Northeast Everett Street improvements to minimize traffic impacts and maximize safety.

Strive to maintain Camas’ small town feel. Sustain the city’s quality of life through phased and sustainable growth that contributes to community character.

For more information about the North Shore, visit camasnorthshore.com.

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