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Department of State lands seeking UGB expansion on industrial park land
Boundary change would add 160 acres to the City of Prineville’s Urban Growth Boundary
March 18, 2013
The last time the City of Prineville expanded its urban growth boundary (UGB) in 2004, they followed their typical blueprint of adding multiple properties.
Nine years later, they might expand it again, but this time, the change will only involve a single piece of land.
The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) recently applied to add a 160-acre portion of its land to the City UGB with the intent of maximizing its value.
“Our job as an agency is to maximize returns to the Common School Fund,” said DSL Asset Manager John Russell.
He explained that the DSL was granted multiple properties throughout Oregon when the state first joined the Union in 1859. Whatever money they generate through development or sales of those lands goes to the Common School Fund, which provides money for public K-12 education statewide.
“We are trying to get our property set up for sale or development,” Russell said. “We actually try to be fairly entrepreneurial, operating in some ways more like a private sector entity than a state agency.”
The DSL owns a 160-acre, square-shaped portion of land on the west side of George Millican Road, just south of the current UGB. They want UGB inclusion because it enables City water and sewer hookups, and increases development options. In particular, it might attract data center companies, which have thus far preferred 160-acre, square-shaped properties.
The move would also enable the DSL to market their land along with an adjacent property to the north. Russell said that DSL formed an informal partnership with Premier West Bank when the two entities engaged in a border adjustment with their respective properties last summer.
At that time, the 160-acre DSL parcel in question was a rectangular-shaped piece of land that was located east of a similarly-shaped and similarly-sized property owned by Premier West Bank. The DSL property remained outside the UGB while the Premier West Bank property was included in the UGB.
A prospective data center had shown interest in the Premier West Bank property, but they preferred a square-shape parcel. To amend the situation, the City adjusted their UGB, and the two land owners altered their borders accordingly. Now, the square-shaped Premier West Bank property is located to the north of the DSL parcel, and remains in the UGB.
Because of the informal partnership that the DSL forged with the Premier West Bank, they feel that inclusion in the UGB would enable them to market their 160-acre property, or offer both parcels as a 320-acre piece of land.
“Just by the act of that switch, each partner gains value because it is a much more desirable piece,” Russell said.
The City of Prineville and Crook County planning commissions will hold a joint public hearing later this month to discuss the UGB application. If they approve the application, the Prineville City Council and Crook County Court will consider the change during a subsequent joint meeting.
While the City has no plans for a full-scale UGB expansion at this time, and does not typically add single properties at a time, they appear to support the DSL request. City Planning Director Scott Edelman pointed out that Facebook and Apple swallowed up a large chunk of their industrial land supply, leaving less available for future companies.
“This replenishes 160 of those acres to make sure we can continue with our land supply.”
Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester added that the inclusion of another industrial property — particularly a 160-acre, square-shaped one — gives them a more competitive edge when prospective companies come calling.
“Timing is really crucial with these guys, the data center industry as a whole,” he said. “It doesn’t even have to be a data center. Any company that is going to make a big investment is going to be time sensitive, and that is what we are trying to do is be ahead of that curve.”
The City of Prineville and Crook County planning commissions will hold a joint public hearing on March 27, regarding the Oregon Department of State Lands’ request to change the Prineville urban growth boundary. The meeting will be held at the Crook County Court meeting room, 320 N.E. Court St., at 7 p.m.