News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City snapshot — new planner, code changes

Matt Martin, formerly with Deschutes County, has been hired as the City’s new principal planner. He will begin his duties in Sisters as of February 7.

•?Staff will be preparing some amendments to the Sisters Development Code regarding the placement of storage units within the city. They will go before the Planning Commission and the City Council next spring for approval. There has been concern that the City’s limited supply of industrial lands should be used by businesses that create jobs. Council suggested a possible moratorium on any more storage units at this


•?Information regarding the housing plan update and the efficiency measures being suggested as a result of the recently completed Comprehensive Plan is available on the City’s


•?Community Development Director Scott Woodford reports that the issuance of building permits does not appear to have been impacted by COVID-19. Single-family residential permits have continued to average six or seven a month. He also reported that the Sisters School District has submitted their preliminary plans for the new elementary school.

•?Public Works Director Paul Bertagna reports that initial action has occurred that would lead to a reduction of speed limits in town. The State Speed Zone Engineer has been contacted. An ordinance will need to be passed that establishes a speed limit, and new speed signs will be installed. The State has to give permission for any changes to speed zones, even on city streets.

•?The third rendition of the artwork for the railings on the Creekside Park footbridge has been reviewed by the City and word is it will be very special. The railing artwork is being constructed by Ponderosa Forge.

•?Council was presented for review the draft of the newly completed Urban Forestry Management Plan, a 37-page document that went through five iterations over six months before reaching its final version in December 2021.

The plan was a joint effort of the Urban Forestry Board, the City Forester, and City staff.

The plan’s various elements are addressed through multiple management strategies with associated action plans.

The plan offers a comprehensive approach to building and maintaining a healthy urban forest and minimizing damage caused by wildfire and invasive pests and is comprised of five components that work together to build a thriving urban forest and efficient management plan.

•?Citizens4Community will be conducting a survey of Sisters residents regarding possible uses of the old elementary school building once the new one is complete. The results of the survey will be shared with the Sisters School


•?Attempting to get the most bang for the buck in providing affordable housing in Sisters, the City Council has decided to not open this year’s Affordable Housing Grant cycle. With urban renewal funds freed up, $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the County, and $100,000 from the Affordable Housing reserve, Council would like to find a piece of buildable land and then work with a developer in 2022-2023 to create an affordable housing development. The money from the County requires that a project be in construction in 2023 and completed by 2025.


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