TUE, JULY 22, 2014
City Hall
City Hall
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Comp Plan Update

Welcome to the Comprehensive Plan Update webpages!

For info about what is going on - please check out the "Get Involved" page.

The City is updating its Comprehensive Plan that was written in 1979. To learn more about the project, please click on the following questions.

Q:What is a comprehensive plan?
A:A comp plan is a generalized, coordinated LAND USE map & policy statement that links all man-made & natural systems and activities relating to the use of lands…including:

  1. Sewer & Water Systems,
  2. Transportation Systems,
  3. Educational Facilities,
  4. Recreational Facilities,
  5. Natural Resources, &
  6. Air & Water Quality Management Programs.

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Q:Does Forest Grove have a Comp Plan?
A:You bet! The most recent comp plan was completed in 1979. The City Council adopted the plan in 1980. In Oregon, all comp plans have to be “acknowledged” or approved by the state. Our plan was acknowledged in 1983.

By the way, our plan weighs 8 pounds and is 7 inches thick! To learn more about the Comp Plan, click here.

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Q:Has it been updated since then?
A:Our Comp Plan was updated twice – in 1985 - 87 and again in 1989 - 92. Each update was minimal & primarily addressed changing state laws. Notice that each update took several years to complete.

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Q:Why update our Comp Plan now?
A:Two reasons – first, the Comp Plan set goals & policies for the distant future that was 2005. Now we’ve passed the “plan horizon” – the date the plan focused on. We need to review our plan and make plans for the next 23 years, to the distant future of 2030.

Secondly, Forest Grove is due for PERIODIC REVIEW.  State law says that every so often, every community needs to review its plans and regulations to make sure that they conform to current state laws, which periodically change themselves AND so that the plans are doing what they meant to do.

“Periodic Review” means the City updates its Comp Plan AND all its other plans (sewer, water, recreation, etc.) AND all the land use & building regulations. Basically, we’ll be looking at all the goals, policies and rules that make the landscape of Forest Grove look the way it does.

There are 14 Metro-area cities, and 3 more statewide, that need to start their Periodic Reviews over the next four years. Forest Grove and Portland are the first ones to begin.

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Q:Why should I care?
A:(1) Because this is the time to make a real difference in the future of Forest Grove.

Here’s an example:In a town north of Seattle, few people came to the comp plan update meetings so the planners left the plan the way it was. Years passed. The plan said that when the little old houses got demolished, people could build tall, multi-story buildings. Finally, that is what happened. And everyone got mad because the tall buildings blocked their lovely views of the Puget Sound and changed the look of their city.

(2) The Comp Plan sets the stage for the next 20+ years in Forest Grove. Yes – plans can be changed – but it’s a complicated and lengthy process.

(3) Metro (our regional planning organization) has estimated that 400,000 more people will be living in Washington County over the next 20 years. Some of those people will live, learn, work & play in Forest Grove. We want to be ready for the future.

(4) The state allows anyone WHO IS FORMALLY involved in the update process to object to any part of it. To be ‘formally involved’ you need to be on the official mailing list, attend a meeting & sign in, make a comment at a formal public hearing before the City Council or Planning Commission. This is a ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ situation.

If, at the end of the update process, you don’t like the result – but you haven’t been part of the process – you cannot formally object to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). This is the body that will review and act on the City’s plan.

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Q:How long will the Update take and what’s involved?
A:The state allows 6 months for Phase 1 (Evaluation & Development of the Work Program) and 3 years for Phase 2 (completing the Work Program). HOWEVER, it took Hillsboro 8 years – Beaverton took 6 years and North Plains used up 13 years. Wilsonville has been working on their update for 10 years.

The work is very detailed and complicated. In a couple of these cities, legal objections caused lengthy delays.  To learn more about Forest Grove's process, click here.

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