City & Government, Creswell

land needs analysis committee – Operating industrial land a focus

As the Land Needs Analysis Committee met for their fifth meeting on Feb. 22 to discuss the revised draft of economic development policies, a specific goal came to mind: Focusing on getting Creswell’s industrial lands into function.
Throughout the policy draft, objectives and action items targeted how to promote economic development through growing the City’s industrial and commercial land. That goal works with what City Manager Michelle Amberg said is the most important objective in the plan: ”4.4 Promote and support diversification of Creswell’s economic base, such as businesses that are complementary to existing businesses in Creswell or within the Eugene-Springfield region.”
She said diversification is the strongest tool to have because a City doesn’t want to have all their eggs in one basket if the economy collapses.
There are four policies in the drafted plan. Policy One focuses on land supply, stating that the City ”will plan for a 20-year supply of suitable commercial and industrial land on sites with a variety of characteristics.”
The City, which had already drafted maps of buildable land, may have to revisit these options as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is remapping its flood map service – which includes the Coast Forks of the Willamette River. Their results might impact the City’s results of buildable and hazardous land, however, the results won’t be available until summer 2019 at the earliest.
Policy Two, Development, Infill Development and Redevelopment, will be supported by the City, especially in areas of existing infrastructure to use the area more efficiently. The first objective encourages commercial and mixed-use developments downtown. This includes an action item of evaluating implementing a vertical housing tax credit to ”support development of buildings with commercial uses and multifamily housing.”
Amberg said that she liked the vertical housing idea, specifically with a tax credit because she ”thinks we’re ready for it in Creswell.”
Another action item would evaluate opportunities in senior housing development that would combine housing and services needed by older seniors.
Committee Member Bev Anderson expressed surprise over the inclusion of a senior focus, but Amberg said that she often receives requests for senior housing in Creswell, and she has to tell people no. City Planner Maddie Phillips also added that without options for smaller units, seniors will stay in their home regardless of it being too expensive or too big, and that limits housing for families who would want to move into a house.
Anderson suggested rephrasing it to include more than just seniors, such as young professionals or couples without children.
Policy Three: Infrastructure Planning works with a project that Phillips is working on to anticipate a potential industrial developer’s design or pre-design steps, to show that the City has already considered the developer’s needs with the land.
”We can’t wait for someone to do it,” she said. ”We have to have a plan that shows what areas need to be improved and what infrastructure needs to be laid out for development work.”
Policy Four: Existing Business Retention, New Business Development and Attraction of New businesses has multiple focuses, and the biggest change to the draft was moving objective 4.3: ”Increase the number of jobs with wages at or above Lane County’s average in the City of Creswell” to an action item under Objective 4.4. that supports diversification.
Amberg said that she ”love(s) that it’s aspirational but it’s very difficult to attract high paying jobs to Creswell when there are so many stable high wage jobs eight miles away.”
The last meeting of the Land Needs Analysis Committee is to be decided.



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