Urban Growth Boundary Expansions on the Rise

Metro Council, the governing body charged with managing the Portland metro area urban growth boundary, is at it again. As a follow-on to David Petersen’s April 20 blog regarding the UGB, I’m here to report that Metro Council has been busy considering expanding the UGB by up to 2,181 acres. In September 2018, Metro Council, with the input of public comment, considered the regional planning agency’s chief operating officer’s recommendation to allow Beaverton, Hillsboro, King City, and Wilsonville to expand the UGB. These four cities requested the expansion mostly for new housing developments. Beaverton would gain 1,232 acres to accommodate approximately 3,760 single-family or multifamily homes, Hillsboro would gain 150 acres to accommodate approximately 850 homes, King City would gain 528 acres for approximately 3,300 homes, and Wilsonville would gain 271 acres for approximately 1,325 homes. That means 9,235 new homes inside the UGB and relief of some of the pressure on Portland’s housing market.

On September 27, 2018, Metro Council completed its first round of public hearings. Metro Council will have another round of public hearings on December 6, 2018, then make its final decisions on December 13, 2018.

Expanding the UGB in areas where cities have requested and carefully planned to expand makes sense. It’s smart to allow some additions to cities that have a plan to use the property for development and have a track record for following through on development in the past. Although we’ll have to give up some farm and forest land and put up with more traffic, Portland needs more than condos and apartments concentrated in the inner metro area and the contemplated UGB expansions are one of the first steps to get there.