Before the rain started on Saturday, the bike took me to the corner of Columbus Street and Ellingson Road at Albany’s southern edge. On the acreage northwest of the corner, a Beaverton company wants to develop a 226-lot subdivision, and the city staff is proposing to contribute $500,000 to help get it started.
The proposal comes up before the Albany City Council’s first work session of the year on Monday afternoon. A memo to the council lays out the deal, and you can read it here. It’s the agenda item called “Columbus Street Funding Discussion.”
Here’s the history: In 2005, Albany voters approved the annexation of a 106-acre tract known as Henshaw Farms at Columbus and Ellingson. In 2014, the planning commission approved a tentative plat for a subdivision there of 223 single-family lots plus three parcels zoned for commercial and apartment use. A traffic study said this would add 2,300 vehicle trips to nearby streets and intersections, which would be able to handle the increase.
But city-imposed conditions — including full street improvements along Columbus — raised the costs so that development has not yet taken place.
The Beaverton-based developer, Metropolitan Land Group (MLG), and the city worked out a proposal, and city officials will lay it before the council on Monday. It calls for the city to give the developers $500,000 from transportation system development charges toward street work along Columbus. In return, the developers won’t claim a certain amount of credits to which they otherwise would be entitled as land east of Columbus is developed in coming years.
The city is interested in getting the subdivision started because it will make possible the development of the rest of the area south of Oak Creek as outlined in the South Albany Area Plan.
In a letter, Darrel L. Smith of MLG said that even with the city’s participation in the cost, “MLG will incur added expense to its development budget, but the city’s participation will certainly help make the project more feasible.”
Pedaling south on Columbus, into a stiff headwind, I was wondering about something. For years officials in Albany and elsewhere have been telling everyone that residential development never pays for what it costs in public services. So why encourage even more of this growth? (hh)