Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to read answers to common questions about the Westside Area Concept Plan.
Why prepare a new plan for Hood River’s Westside Area?
- The Westside Study Area includes the majority of Hood River’s remaining buildable land within the Urban Growth Boundary. It is an important part of Hood River’s future, so the City and County 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 problem. The plan is looking at options to increase the mix of housing types and improve affordability.
What is a Concept Plan?
A Concept Plan includes a vision and a generalized plan for a sub-area of the city. The Westside Area Concept Plan takes into consideration current housing needs, the transportation system, parks and natural resources, as well as other infrastructure needs including 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 is 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 Westside Area Concept Plan Report entail?
The Concept Plan Report 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 including smaller homes, duplexes, triplexes and apartments. The Concept Plan Report anticipates futhur refinements to the Land Use Framework.
- 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.
- The Concept Plan Report anticipates further refinements to the Land Use Framework, and other changes may be made prior to adoption.
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 residential zoning that currently is in place.
- Based upon existing zoning, an estimated 1,133 new housing units are expected to develop in the Westside Area over the next 20 years or longer. The Concept Plan Report includes three scenarios that would facilitate between 446 and 580 additional housing units. The difference is largely due to an increase in the number of multifamily units that could be constructed under each scenario, which was an identified need for the City Hood River in the 2015 Housing Strategy.
- The Concept Plan Report suggests several changes to increase the number of available multi-family housing units (duplexes, triplexes and apartments) including:
- Establishing a new R-2.5 Zone with a minimum lot size of 4,000-square feet (recommended by the 2015 Housing Strategy).
- Re-designating some land to the R-3 Zone (recommendated by the 2015 Housing Strategy).
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.
- Traffic modeling was completed that includes assumptions for transit and long term population growth. The model determined that one new project will need to be added to the City's Transportation System Plan under Land Use Framework "Scenario A", a traffic signal or mini-roundabout at the intersection of May Street and Rand Road.
- One of the key issues is the realignment of a future north-south Minor Arterial street between Country Club/Wine Country and May Street, as recommended in the City’s 2011 Transportation System Plan. Based on a review of alternatives, the Concept Plan Report recommends shifting the alignment west from its formerly proposed location betweem Mt Adams Avenue and May Street near 30th Street. 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.
What about parks, open space and schools?
- Three neighborhood parks are recommended, integrated with open space, community destinations and trails. The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District is developing an updated Parks Master Plan that will be informed by the recommendations of the Concept Plan Report.
- The study area includes a 17-acre parcel owned by the Hood River County School District located northwest of 30th and May Streets that is assumed to be a future school site. The are no immediate plans for a new school – the Concept Plan takes the long term view and is coordinating access, circulation, the relationship to adjacent residential development. The Hood River County School District will determine if, when and what type of school is appropriate at this location.
How can rezoning lead to development of more attainable and 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 tools such as affordable housing bonuses and "cottage development" codes are helpful and are addressed in the Concept Plan Report.
- The Advisory Committees 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 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 System Development Charges (SDCs) paid by developers.
- Currently there is no overall infrastructure funding plan for the Westside. The City uses different tools – Capital Improvements Plans for public facilties 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 but the Hood River Valley Parks District collects SDCs.
- The Concept Plan Report includes an Infrastructure Funding Plan that comprehensively looks at the entire area, for all systems, and compares revenues to costs. The plan recommends 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 emerged from the Concept Plan process?
- A document titled Hood River Westside Area Concept Plan Report (December 29, 2017) that describes the vision for the area and recommendations for land use, housing, transportation, parks and open space, and infrastructure.
- Three scenarios for comprehensive plan and zoning map designations that need further refinement.
- Recommended comprehensive plan policies.
- Recommended updates to the City’s Transportation System Plan.
- Draft text for updated zoning regulations.
- An infrastructure funding plan.
- Recommended next steps for implementation.
When will the Plan be completed and adopted by the City?
- The Concept Plan Report was published on December 29, 2017.
- The Report will be reviewed and refined by the Planning Commission in a series of public hearings before recommendations are made to the City Council and County Board of Commissioners.
- There is no fixed timetable for hearings and adoption.
Who was involved in preparation of the Concept Plan Report?
- The process was guided by two advisory committees who each met seven times between September of 2016 and October of 2017. Advisory Committee members included property owners, business owners, local residents, other citizens, local advocacy groups, local and state agencies, Tribal representatives and other interested parties.
- Two public Open House events were held (November 2016 and February of 2017).
- Two online non-scientific surveys were conducted (December of 2016 and March of 2017).
- The project website, notices in city utility bills, an UGB-wide mailing in March of 2016, and social media were used to encourage public participation and comments.
How can I get involved?
- Read the Concept Plan Report, Appendices and other background documents including the City's 2015 Housing Needs Analysis and Housing Strategy.
- Sign up on the project mailing list: http://www.hrwestsideplan.com/get-involved/
- Attend planning commission meetings.
- Provide written comments to the City at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org