Pending an appeal, the blueprint for developing Kingston Terrace is one step away from being final. On April 26, the King City Planning Commission voted 4 to 0 to endorse the city staff’s plan, with the final step being a vote by the City Council, likely to occur in June, according to City Manager Mike Weston.
Almost all of the 45 seats in the City Council Chambers in City Hall were occupied when the meeting started at 9 a.m., but by the time the vote was taken around 3:45 p.m., there were only a handful of audience members left to hear it, plus Weston, Steve Faust with 3J Consulting and Marcy McInelly with Urbsworks.
In technical terms, Planning Commission Chair Ann Marie Paulsen and Commissioners Carol M. Bellows, Jan Tysoe and Elisabeth Gauthier voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Kingston Terrace staff report and findings, including LU #C23-03 Comprehensive Plan Amendments and LU #23-02 Kingston Terrace Master Plan and associated exhibits and appendices.
Kingston Terrace, 528 acres of mostly rural properties and farms, is located between the western boundary of the city, the Tualatin River and Beef Bend and Roy Rogers roads. King City added the area to its urban growth boundary in 2018 after getting approval from the Metro Council.
Since that time, city officials and planning consultants have worked to come up with a plan to deal with the area’s natural topography, which includes canyons, wetlands and other sensitive areas, while planning for transportation routes, a town center in the west, 3,300 to 3,600 housing units of different types, and park and recreation opportunities, all within about 318 acres.
City officials have held numerous public meetings over the years to gather input from residents of both King City and the UGB area, with most of the attention focused on transportation routes. Many speakers at the meetings were opposed to extending Fischer Road from the point where it dead-ends in the Edgewater subdivision because of disruption to existing homes and established neighborhoods and more environmental damage. The other major controversy was a projected street through the 12.82-acre Bankston property, which is in a Columbia Land Trust conservation easement. Carla Bankston has testified at all the meetings against extending Fischer Road and was one of the few remaining people in the audience for the Planning Commission vote.
During the April public hearing, 20 people spoke on issues ranging from protecting the environment and wildlife to not enough park land provided in the plan to questioning the city’s ability to maintain the new parks to the legality of the city’s right to annex properties. Other issues included the location of streets, concerns about waiting to proceed until a Clean Water Services survey is completed and worries about cut-through traffic.
Victoria Frankeny, Tualatin Riverkeepers staff attorney, said that while the organization supports the city in its plan to provide affordable housing, they are concerned about the impact of development on the environment, including erosion, diminished oxygen levels and rising temperatures in the Tualatin River.
Mike Meyer, whose land along the river has been in his family for 150 years, said, “A community park site was selected without public input, and it is in a flood plain.” He added that the proposed street locations “will draw traffic and noise to the river. And there is a traffic circle on top of my daughter’s house.”
Gary Woods, who lives on Fischer Road, recapped the history of Edgewater residents fighting the expansion of Fischer Road, saying, “The majority of people in King City continue to be opposed to this plan. One of our major concerns is the increased traffic through Edgewater.”
On the other hand, Mike Dahlstrom, a resident of the Highlands in King City, said, “Growth is inevitable. I do support the plan, but I see several implementation issues.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Weston presented a long list of reasons why extending Fischer Road kept rising to the top.
“Without the Fischer connection, modeling indicates that Beef Bend may need to be four to five lanes; a four-to-five-lane Beef Bend results in the loss of multi-family and single-family dwellings over a two-mile stretch; the Fischer connection is the least impactful to the natural environment; the Fischer connection is the most-economical connection; and the Fischer connection does not require demolition of homes,” Weston said.
He went on to say, “The Fischer connection provides the best relief to the transportation congestion along Beef Bend; the Fischer connection is the only right-of-way and street profile wide enough to accommodate increased traffic volumes; the Fischer alignment would be eligible (for certain types of funding); and the Fischer alignment provides the best access to future parks, trails and natural areas.”
According to Weston, other advantages include the Fischer alignment giving the best options for regional stormwater solutions, reducing traffic through the Deer Creek School zone and providing an alternative alignment out of Edgewater.
For more information, visit the city’s website, KingCityMasterPlan.com.