Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to read answers to common questions about the Westside Area Concept Plan.
Why prepare a plan for Hood River’s Westside Area?
- At 450 acres, the Westside Area comprises the majority of Hood River’s remaining buildable land with the Urban Growth Boundary. It is an important part of Hood River’s future growth, so the City has initiated a comprehensive and community-based planning process to define the area’s future for land use, housing, transportation, parks, and infrastructure.
- Hood River has a housing affordability problem. The plan is looking at how increasing the mix of housing types and overall amount of housing can help address that.
What is a Concept Plan?
A Concept Plan is a plan for a sub-area of the city that looks at housing, transportation, parks, natural resources, infrastructure and funding. Concept Plans look at these issues in an integrated way and set the stage for long term growth and development that achieves the community’s goals and vision.
What are the goals for the Westside Area Concept Plan?
The stated goal in the grant for the project is:
“The goal of the Westside Area Concept Plan is to develop an integrated land-use and transportation plan for about a 450 acre site located within the City of Hood River and Hood River County. The project seeks to facilitate the development of workforce and affordable housing, refine the City’s Transportation System Plan adopted in 2011 and the County’s TSP adopted in 2011, and apply smart growth development strategies. Project will recommend updated comprehensive plan and zoning designations and code changes as needed for the City and County consistent with the project objectives. Adoptions of the plans are expected to occur following project completion.”
More information from the grant and scope of work may be found here.
What’s the Vision for the Westside?
The vision statement prepared by the Project Advisory Committee is:
“The Westside Area will grow to become an interconnected community of great neighborhoods, an attractive gateway of commercial and mixed use activity, and an affordable and diverse area of the City. The Westside’s hallmarks will be:
- Housing options that provide choices for all income levels, life stages, and cultures within Hood River
- Streets, trails, and paths that are walkable, connected, and green
- Neighborhood design that celebrates the landforms, views, and magnificent landscape of Hood River
- Open spaces and parks that support community gathering and a connection to nature
The Westside Area will be an integral part and extension of the larger Hood River community.”
What does the draft Westside Area Concept Plan entail?
The draft Plan consists of several connected layers, called “Framework Plans,” that work together to define a series of connected neighborhoods and commercial districts served by planned public infrastructure, parks, open spaces and a future school site. The Framework Plans include:
- A “Neighborhoods and Districts Framework” identifies the broad characteristics of the area and delineates the Westside into three walkable neighborhoods and two employment districts. The commercial districts are located near Interstate 84 Exit 62 at the western gateway to the city.
- A “Land Use Framework” provides recommendations for updates to the land use (zoning) designations in order to meet project objectives including increasing availability of a variety of housing types such as smaller homes and apartments.
- A “Streets Framework” depicting the area’s arterial and collector streets, as well as a new category of “neighborhood connector” streets to ensure a high level of connectivity in the area.
- A “Bicycle and Pedestrian Framework”, depicting the area’s on-street and off-street facilities.
- A “Parks and Open Space Framework” identifying target areas for future park sites. This Framework plan can help inform preparation of a Parks Master Plan update by the Hood River Valley Parks District.
- Current drafts of these frameworks and a draft of the plan are available HERE. These drafts are subject to change.
What changes would there be to land use?
- The existing zoning in the Westside Area today consists of a mix of commercial (C-2), industrial (LI), and residential (R-1, R-2, and R-3) zones.
- Overall, the Plan is intended to create walkable neighborhoods and increase the variety of housing types expected to develop in the Westside residential areas, as compared to today’s single family detached zoning.
- Under today’s zoning, an estimated 1,133 new housing units are expected to develop in the Westside Area. With the proposed plan, an estimated 1,831 new housing units are expected to develop. The difference is largely due to an increase in the number of multifamily units under the proposed plan, which was an identified need for the City Hood River in the 2015 Housing Strategy Report.
- Specific proposed changes to land use designations are listed below:
- Land in the Westside with a R-1 zone (with the exception of parcels with an approved development or land division underway) is changed to the R-2 zone. At about 5 homes per buildable acre, R-1 is a very low density use of limited urban land.
- Land designated R-2 currently has a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. The proposed plan reduces this to 4,000 in order to provide for a greater variety of housing types and sizes (a strategy recommended by the 2015 Housing Strategy Report).
- The draft Plan proposes re-designating about 30 acres of land (split across eight locations) to R-3 in order to create places for multifamily housing in all three Westside neighborhoods, per the multi-family need in the Housing Strategy noted above.
How has transportation been addressed?
- The Plan takes a “multi-modal” approach of planning for streets, bikeways, pedestrian paths, and transit – all as one integrated circulation system. The goal is to provide transportation options and reduce reliance on auto travel.
- The land use alternative called “Strong Increase in Workforce and Affordable Housing” was modelled in the traffic model used by the City, Hood River County, and ODOT. A second model run is planned for the working draft preferred plan, with some updated assumptions for transit and long term population growth.
- One of the key issues is the location of new north-south connector streets between Country Club/Wine Country and May Street, as recommended in the City’s Transportation System Plan. A review of alternatives shifted the proposed alignment west from its current location south of Mt Adams Avenue. The intent is to reduce the steepness of the road and move it away from the entrance to the future school. More information is available here.
- The traffic modelling is also looking at whether any upgrades to transportation facilities should be planned. An example of one under study is a traffic signal or mini-roundabout at the intersection of Rand Street and May Street.
What about parks, open space and schools?
- Parks and open space – Three neighborhood parks are proposed, integrated with open space, community destinations and trails.
- Schools – There is a 17-acre school district-owned property just west of 30th Street that is assumed to be a future school site. The are no immediate plans for a school – the Plan takes the long term view and is coordinating access, circulation, the relationship to adjacent residential development.
How does growth and rezoning lead to and assure affordable housing?
- More housing “capacity” and a broader mix of housing types are essential to making housing more affordable, but they only go so far. Other land use and transportation tools such as affordable housing bonuses and cottage codes are helpful and will be considered as well.
- The PAC has discussed the need for additional non-zoning tools, such as tax credit programs, to be coupled with the zoning recommendations. This is an on-going topic of discussion for the PAC and the community.
- Additional information on this topic is available here.
How will roads, water, parks, etc. be paid for?
- Most infrastructure is funded as part of development – either directly by developers or through a fee paid by developers, called System Development Charges.
- Currently there is no overall infrastructure funding plan for the Westside. The City uses different tools – a Capital Improvements Plan, public facility plans, and coordination with development - to determine how to pay for and build water, sewer, storm water and transportation improvements on a case by case basis. There are currently no plans in place for funding parks.
- The Westside Concept Plan will include an Infrastructure Funding Plan that comprehensively looks at the entire area, for all systems, and compares revenues to costs. The plan will recommend funding strategies for transportation, water, sewer, storm water, and parks.
Is the city promoting growth for tax revenue?
No, tax revenue is not a stated goal of the plan.
What specific products that will emerge from the Concept Plan process?
Products to be produced include:
- A document titled Hood River Westside Area Concept Plan that describes the vision for the area and recommendations for land use, affordable housing, transportation, parks and open space, and infrastructure.
- Recommended comprehensive plan and zoning map designations.
- Recommended comprehensive plan policies.
- Recommended updates to the City’s Transportation System Plan, and as needed, the County’s Transportation System Plan.
- Draft text for updated zoning regulations.
- Recommended next steps for implementation of workforce and affordable housing.
- An infrastructure funding plan.
When will the Plan be completed and adopted by the City?
- The Project Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet next on June 28th, and an additional meeting is being scheduled for after that.
- The package of recommendations will then be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review.
- There is no fixed timetable for hearings and adoption. The schedule will be established after the Project Advisory Committee’s work is complete and the Planning Commission’s review has begun.
- Watch the project web site and sign up for email alerts for the most up to date information on meeting dates and the process.
Who has been involved in this process?
- The process has been guided by meetings with two advisory committees who have each met four times (October, November, February, and April) since the project kickoff in August, 2016. Members include property owners, business owners, local residents, other citizens, local advocacy groups, local and state agencies, Tribal representatives and other interested parties. The advisory committee makeup is listed here.
- Two public Open House events have been held (November and February).
- Two online non-scientific surveys have been conducted (December and March).
- On-going information and outreach has included the project web site, newspaper notices for the Open Houses, notices for open houses and online surveys included in city utility bills, an area-wide mailing in March, and many individual contacts with participants.
How can I get involved?
- Visit the project web site and read the Project Advisory Committee's packets and other background documents at at http://www.hrwestsideplan.com/project-documents/
- Sign up on our mailing list: http://www.hrwestsideplan.com/get-involved/
- Attend upcoming meetings of the project, as well as planning commission and city council.
- Provide written comments to the city at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org