City Council weighs in on Heavenly Acres rezone


Last updated 2/28/2023 at Noon

Rezoning was required to accommodate a project to build affordable apartments in Sisters. GRAPHIC PROVIDED

An affordable apartment housing project in Sisters is continuing to move forward.

The Sisters City Council received an update from Community Development Director Scott Woodford and Principal Planner Matthew Martin regarding the rezone of Heavenly Acres at last week’s City Council meeting.

The rezone was approved by the Planning Commission last week (See “Rezoning approved for housing development,” The Nugget, February 22). The City Council’s public hearing regarding the rezone is on schedule for March 8 as of right now; The Nugget will provide updates to the public hearing date as we hear from city staff.

The proposed rezone will take the property near Wellhouse Church from the Urban Area Reserve with seven lots and a total of 27.3 acres. The area will be split into parcels zoned to Public Facility/Institutional (PFI), and Multi-Family Residential (MFR).

The rezone is part of the 2021/22 Council goals to achieve more affordable housing in the community.

According to the map, the Planning Commission recommendation was for Plot 4 to consist of one lot at 2.97 acres and a small area of right-of-way, zoned as MFR. Originally, staff proposed Lot 5 to be included as MFR, but with the Wellhouse Church mobile pantry on the lot, the planning commission considered the area built out. All other lots in the proposed area will now be considered as Public Facility and Institutional, for a total of six lots at 24.35 acres.

With the proposed new zones, there was the question of building on PFI-zoned land. Housing is not permitted on PFI-zoned areas. The question of employee housing being placed in those areas also arose, but due to legal questions, there is a hold for now on looking at employee housing on PFI land. According to Woodford, they may revisit the process of employee housing as a conditional use on PFI. The area of Plot 4 will be the main area considered for MFR zone.

Along with rezone of the area, there were also a few text amendments to the Development Code. Due to the number of church facilities in the area, the Planning Commission will be adding “churches and places of worship as a conditional use in the zone district.”

They are also adding a new development code text amendment of “Subsequently Allowed Uses,” a “new chapter to address nonconforming uses that are subsequently made conforming by designating as a permitted use and lawfully established uses are subsequently designated as a conditional use. Allows continued use without alteration. Alterations must conform to current standards, including conditional use approval when applicable.”

Woodford mentioned that staff will look at what impact different buildings will have on the number of trips on the road system and into the Barclay roundabout. They’ll also look at the water fee impact on any subsequent buildings on the rezoned properties. The entire process for a rezone involves a multitude of data and impact studies.

In other Council business, Sarah McDougall was appointed to the Planning Commission to fill a vacancy that opened in January. McDougall previously ran for a seat on the Sisters City Council.

For more details on the rezone project and background, see the story Rezoning approved for housing development from Sue Stafford below.


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