News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City’s Comp Plan nears finish line

The year-long process of crafting an updated Comprehensive Plan for the City is in the home stretch, according to Community Development Director Scott Woodford.

Over the next month, City staff will take the final draft prepared by the consultants hired to conduct the update process, and will create the narratives, adding photos and resources that will put the goals and policies into a cohesive document.

Woodford indicated he has been pleased with the process, which included considerable outreach to the community, even without being able to have large in-person meetings. They were able to conduct smaller meetings with a variety of community groups, two online open houses, two online surveys, and tabling events around the city to gather input from the

public.

The two advisory committees, Community and Stakeholders, represented a broad cross-section of Sisters residents and City partners. These two groups have done a majority of the hard work in reviewing current policies and making suggested additions and deletions. Each committee met a total of seven times via Zoom.

When the staff is finished with the narratives, the document will be presented for review at hearings before the Planning Commission on August 12 and 26 and to the City Council on September 8 and 22. Additional hearings may be scheduled, if needed. The public is invited to those hearings and may testify.

Once the Comprehensive Plan is approved by the Council, it will be sent on to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for preliminary review and eventual acknowledgement. Woodson said that if someone wasn’t able to directly participate in the process, it is likely there was someone else with similar thoughts who did participate.

“It became challenging to hear something new by the time we were through with the process. But until the Council gives its final approval, the plan is still considered in process and comments from the public are accepted,” Woodford offered.

The two major concerns that surfaced out of all the comments received dealt in some way with the pace of growth in Sisters and — if Sisters must grow — how it can be done successfully while finding ways to balance the options of infill within the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and possible outward expansion of the UGB into underutilized farm and forest lands, all without destroying the unique character of Sisters.

The Comprehensive Plan process is one required of every sized city, town, and village in the state of Oregon. Because Sisters has less than 10,000 residents, the Comprehensive Plan is not required to be updated as often as in larger cities.

 

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