City & Government, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Springfield

Roundup: Area planning commissions work out land use matters

When it comes to city government, there is always something happening behind the scenes.

Last week, Springfield, Creswell, and Cottage Grove’s planning commissions met to discuss land use matters. The area’s local planning commissions are seven-member volunteer bodies which discuss topics to then make recommendations to councils. They are appointed by city council and/or the mayor.


The Springfield planning commission met March 19, and senior planners Haley Campbell and Chelsea Hartman led a discussion about housing and non-residential areas code amendments to the Springfield Development Code (SDC).

One of the City’s goals with its potential code amendments is to change the verbiage from “affordable housing” to “income-qualified housing.” Hayden Bridge Landing located at 1975 N. 5th St. is an example of income-qualified housing, according to senior planner Haley Campbell.

This presentation centered around Springfield’s implementation of House Bills 2984, 3151, and 3395 – each of which relate to income-qualified, or affordable, housing – and also asked commissioners to provide staff with guidance on incorporating certain regulations and verbiage in their draft for the SDC amendments.

The project began in 2018, and its purpose is to comply with recent state legislation, change the term “affordable housing” to “income-qualified housing,” and update the SDC “to support efficient, timely, and clear development review.”

Some updates which City staff are hoping to make to the SDC are simply to move information from one section of the code to another section to improve readability.

Next on the horizon for the SDC updates is a public hearing on April 2 at 7 p.m., which is a chance for the Springfield community to provide input and feedback to City staff about their projected changes to the code. Written testimony can be submitted through Springfield Oregon Speaks, and oral testimony must be provided at the public hearing on April 2.

Following that public hearing, a joint work session and public hearing between the Springfield City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners is expected to be held June 10.

Cottage Grove

On March 20, the Cottage Grove planning commission addressed the potential for a comprehensive plan and land use amendment and also discussed the City’s development code.

The amendment requested was for a zone change for 2.56 acres of land from multi-family residential to industrial for the purpose of constructing self-service storage. City planner Eric Mongan told the commissioners that City staff did not recommend this amendment be brought to council and cited the applicant’s inability to meet or address certain statewide planning goals – like Goal 8: recreational needs and Goal 10: Housing – as part of his reasoning.

There was some push from Clayton Payne, the applicant of the amendment, during public hearing to recommend the amendment to city council. Regardless, the commission did not side in his favor; the comprehensive plan and land use amendment was not recommended to be brought to the city council.

Mongan then relayed the “observed inconsistencies in the code, errors, and other amendments related to recently completed studies such as the Affordable Housing Implementation Plan,” which pertained to updating chapters and sections of Title 14 of the Cottage Grove Municipal Code. He described this as “housekeeping of the code for items that have either accidentally been changed through copy and paste errors in the past or just conflicts in general with other sections of the code as those sections are changed.”

One topic discussed was which trees were approved for street tree planting. Mongan noted that all eight kinds of previously-approved ash trees were now to be removed from the list due to “an infestation of a pest called the emerald ash borer that will – if it propagates enough, as it has across the East Coast – kill all ash trees, so the best thing that we can do at this point in time is to not add any more ash trees to our urban forests.”

The planning commission recommended the Development Code Text Amendment be brought to city council.


The Creswell planning commission had three agenda items to address at its meeting on March 21. The first was to name a new vice chair because Patrick Gering needed to step down. Lisa Benson volunteered and became the planning commission’s new vice chair.

The other two topics were items to only be discussed at this time. Neither required a decision on if the issue would be recommended to be brought to council, and both topics should be revisited at future planning commission meetings.

The first was a discussion to amend part of the City’s development code for the Creswell Butte definition. The conversation centered around the potential for changing the Creswell Butte Boundary. City planner Curtis Thomas said he’s looking forward to getting feedback from the City’s residents.

“That’s the important part: to make sure the public understands it and gets the process or else I’m just a silly man looking at maps on my computer,” he said.

The other topic discussed was an economic opportunities analysis regarding the City’s 20-year employment plan update. Thomas said this was the “most important planning item that we’re working on right now” and that the commissioners talked over the goals for the plan update. He added that there will be a few stages of public input for this as well as it continues being discussed. The Creswell planning commission’s next meeting will be April 18.

— Amanda Lurey



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