The city of Redmond is beginning a land use planning process for the acreage surrounding the new Ridgeview High School in southwest Redmond, viewing the school's addition as a potential catalyst for an undeveloped area.
Dubbed the Southwest Area Plan, the project aims to involve citizens and potential developers in a process that is expected to take nearly a year to complete.
“Since Ridgeview opened, there has been a lot of interest in that area of the city,” said James Lewis, planning manager for the city of Redmond. “Right now it's mostly speculation, but people are starting to really think about what the future holds for that area.”
Neighboring landowners were invited to an informational meeting Jan. 9, which Lewis said drew about 50 people. Most had questions about the process of land use planning. More meetings are planned over the coming months as the city gets closer to a final plan.
Redmond went through a similar process five years ago for the northwest section of the city, at a time when development was surging for the entire region. However, the ink was barely dry on the Northwest Area and Highway 97 plans when the economy took a nose dive.
Little development has happened in those areas since but, according to Lewis, the plans are still valid and can easily be dusted off when investors come forward.
The southwest area includes some parcels inside the city, some within its urban growth boundary and some in its urban reserve. The urban reserve is the extended area marked for long-term city expansion, expected to be no sooner than 20 years out.
Both the South and Northwest Area plans were, or will be, based on “Great Neighborhood Principles” that stress interconnected streets, commercial uses to support the neighboring residential areas, a variety of housing choices and open space for public use.
According to Lewis, there is no current development going on in the southwest area, but there are several active plans on file with the city. They were approved before the recession began and are still valid due to extensions granted by the Redmond City Council.
“There may not be any development beating down our door but we want to be ready,” said Lewis. “There's a lot of master planning that has to be done before any UGB land can be brought into the city.”
The city's next steps include forming advisory groups for input, including a technical committee with partners such as Pacific Power and the Central Oregon Irrigation District. Interested citizens can request notification of meetings and updates on the plan's process by emailing Lewis.
“We'd like to work towards a handful of conceptual plans, then narrow it down to a couple of choices ready by fall,” said Lewis.