Camas ramps up North Shore planning

City set to kick off “Phase 2” of subarea plan for mostly undeveloped 900-acre area northeast of Lacamas Lake

Nine months after approving an eight-point vision statement that will guide future development of the city’s nearly 900-acre mixed-use area northeast of Lacamas Lake known as North Shore, Camas officials are set to kick off the second phase of the North Shore Subarea plan.

Senior City Planner Sarah Fox has described the subarea plan as a tool that will allow the city to plan for what Camasonians want in the area instead of just reacting to inevitable private development.

“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,” Fox told the council in September 2020.

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

Fox has said the second phase of North Shore subarea planning will allow the city to create new regulations and policies that would help the area develop in a unique and community-minded way.

Of the nearly 900 acres included in the North Shore, the city of Camas owns 238 acres and the remaining 668 acres are considered private property.

Though the subarea plan will guide future development with the city’s North Shore Vision Statement — which highlights a desire to preserve the North Shore’s natural beauty and environmental health; plan a network of green spaces and recreational opportunities; make a more walkable community; provide a variety of housing options for all income levels and life stages; locate industrial parks and commercial centers away from Lacamas Lake; favor local-serving businesses; plan for needed schools and infrastructure; and strive to maintain Camas’ small town feel — Fox stressed that the subarea planning is not a development plan.

“And the city is not a developer,” she said.

Now, the council is set to approve a contract with WSP USA to create a Phase 2 plan that will guide future development in the North Shore and could come up with new design and zoning standards unique to the North Shore.

The subarea plan will be consistent with the city’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan, Fox said, and will “establish a vision for the area … and guide redevelopment and new development efforts.”

Like the Phase 1 portion of the subarea plan, the plan’s second phase will include a substantial public outreach component, Fox said.

The outreach will include a video about the subarea planning, a continuation of the North Shore website (northshorecamas.com) that will eventually be housed on the city’s main website, public hearings before the city’s planning commission and city council, and two committees — one for stakeholders, city officials and key staff members and another, a citizen advisory committee, that will include interested Camas community members.

“We’ll be able to really look for a broader representation throughout the community and not just those in the North Shore area” for the citizen advisory committee, Fox said.

If approved by the city council this month, the contract with WSP would include $174,173 in professional services and $50,789 in contingency tasks such as planning-level infrastructure estimates and a utility infrastructure analysis. The consultant would deliver a subarea plan report for council’s consideration, that included a preferred land-use plan for the North Shore based on comments from the committee members, city staff and members of the public; a summary of the public outreach involved in the Phase 2 subarea plan; and a possible zoning changes, comprehensive plan amendments, design standards and traffic or utility expansions that would help the city realize its future goals for the North Shore area.

Fox said the second phase of the North Shore Subarea Plan could kick off as soon as this summer, with a draft for council in the winter of 2022 and a completion date of May 2022.

At the Camas City Council’s June 21 workshop, city council member Shannon Roberts commented that some people have said the majority of Camasonians do not want the North Shore Subarea Plan to move forward, but she felt that was not true.

“We have performed numerous outreaches,” Roberts said. “This is not something that’s just happened in the last year. We have gone over and above trying to get people’s thoughts to incorporate into this project.”

Fox agreed, saying city staff had started their public outreach efforts on the North Shore Subarea Plan nearly three years ago.

“We conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders about their visions for the North Shore,” Fox told the Camas Planning Commissioners in August 2020. “We really had great turnout throughout this entire project.”

To learn more about the North Shore Subarea Plan, visit northshorecamas.com, and read The Post-Record’s past articles on the subarea planning: