July 23, 2004
Serving Western Deschutes County
Sisters, Oregon

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New development planned for east end of Sisters
By Jim Mitchell, Correspondent

The proposed FivePine development will run along Highway 20 from Sisters Athletic Club to the Lazy Z Ranch. The Sisters Planning Commission reviewed project plans last week. photo by Jim Mitchell
A major new development is on the drawing board for the east end of Sisters.

The FivePine Master Plan calls for the construction of two restaurants, a theater, office buildings, a lodge and cabins, a sports complex, and a conference center on property next to the recently completed Sisters Athletic Club.

Last week, developer Bill Willitts and selected representatives presented the FivePine Master Plan Concept to the Sisters Planning Commission. Brian Rankin, interim city planning director, suggested that a requested parking variance be reviewed first since the development deemphasizes the automobile and encourages the use of paved walkways to travel between businesses.

Developers say the 15-acre site is designed to minimize automobile traffic with extensive retention of the pine forest.

The variance requests that parking standards duplicate those of the downtown core, where a developer gets up to 70 percent credit for parking that is on the street. The remaining 30 percent must be provided off-street and on private property.

Property in the highway commercial subzone, in which FivePine is located, requires all parking to be provided on a particular site, for example a food market or a fast food restaurant.

Rankin summarized staff findings: "None of the proposed uses in FivePine are auto oriented and most of the lots propose uses with low parking requirements, which can be satisfied largely by on-street parking fronting those businesses. One parking lot with 89 spaces is situated near the proposed theater. This lot satisfies the requirement for 30 percent off-street parking."

The Planning Commiss-ion accepted the requested variance.
The proposed FivePine development. Sisters Athletic Club is at upper left corner. photo by Jim Mitchell

The preliminary plan for FivePines was approved in 2002. The current Master Plan Concept shows a 15-acre site, with the creation of 15 new lots.

Sixty-seat and 80-seat restaurants, a four-plex movie house, and a health spa will join Sisters Athletic Club.

There will be a conference center, a lodge and 22 cabins. Six lots are slated for office and retail buildings, one lot for residential use (three triplexes). Plans call for a "sports barn" to include two indoor tennis courts.

According to Willitts, "FivePine is a health campus designed around preserving the existing landscape features and protecting the open space and old growth pine forest while facilitating efficient use of the land and roadways."

An extensive system of asphalt pathways will connect buildings throughout the development. Over 30 percent of the existing pines are to be preserved. A water feature will meander through the development and the trail system will connect to the existing National Forest trail.

"The design theme is built around architecture of the late 1800s, particularly buildings that traditionally were located on the outskirts of towns," Willitts said.

"This design standard is focused on lodges, train stations and barns. The types of uses and building layout promote pedestrian use with low vehicle impact."

The Willitts' have collected a large library of out-of-print books showing the architecture of central and eastern Oregon in the 1800s.

Many of the FivePine building designs are based on photographs and drawings from those books.

To date, the traffic impact study has addressed only traffic from Highway 20. ODOT has approved a median deceleration lane eastbound at the athletic club and a center deceleration and left-turn lane westbound.

Traffic flow through the Coyote Springs subdivision to the southwest remains a question. Coyote Springs' Mark Ford expressed concern over the impact of FivePine's traffic, parking, and lighting on bordering residential areas.

Willitts noted that, "This is an all-Sisters-grown innovation. No one outside of the Sisters area is involved in the development of FivePine. All Sisters owned. All Sisters contractors."

The Planning Commission elected to keep the record open on the FivePine Concept Plan until additional requested information is received.

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