Community input will be used to create the final vision to be presented to city council
CAMAS — Members of the community met at Camas High School last night to discuss and brainstorm a visioning plan for council on the development of the city’s North Shore Subarea.
The workshop was the final element in the Phase 1 process of community outreach and vision crafting for the North Shore. Over the past five months, the city has conducted outreaches in public schools and with community members at similar meetings and workshops to garner feedback on development options.
Annexed in 2007 by the city of Camas, the area now commonly referred to as the North Shore is the some 800 acres to the north of Lacamas Lake. For many years prior, this land has remained in private ownership and not a direct part of any urban growth area.
Now, the area is classified in the Camas Urban Growth area and in connection to the county’s Growth Management Act (GMA), as an area suitable for expansion of certain amounts of residential, light commercial, business park, multi-family housing, and natural preservation development.
“What we’ve been focusing on is gathering feedback in as many ways as possible from our community,” said Sarah Fox, senior planner in Community Development for Camas. “We gather feedback from what we call stakeholders, property owners, the public, and we’ve been at a lot of events. Ultimately, at the end of tonight, we will gather this information … and we’ll put it into a draft, what we call a draft vision document, and we’ll bring it in front of our planning commission and our city council, and we’ll get the feedback and fine tune it further.”
The draft vision created by staff after collecting public input will be submitted to council for review and ultimately adopted by resolution very soon. City staff explained timing of the visions is greatly impacted by the changing situation of preserving land for recreational use and natural spaces.
The city’s Legacy Lands Project recently secured 140 acres within the North Shore to be used for new and updated trails, as well as passive green spaces and parks. Steve Faust, with the consultant firm WSP, explained some of the questions asked of community members over the past five months to rank the desired amenities.
“Another question we asked was about parks and public spaces, and what types of parks and public spaces people wanted to see. Natural areas and trails, scored the highest by quite a bit, followed by water access to the lake, a larger community park, which I believe we defined this up to five acres and passive open space was a popular one as well,” Faust said. “There was definitely a preference for local businesses and local serving businesses as opposed to you know, one of the options we gave people was shopping centers or larger commercial centers.”
During the workshop on the evening of Feb. 4, community members were asked to participate with their table groups in the construction of a diagram of the North Shore. Each group was given a certain number of different stickers and Post-It Notes to represent the required number of acres to be allocated for each type of development.
Each group came back with different allocations, but a common frustration arose with regard to the “required” number of acres for certain types of development, such as light commercial and industrial business park.
“My frustration is that the exercise requires us to place 230 acres worth of light industrial … and 120 acres of commercial,” said Camas resident Scott Hogg. “And if you look, we don’t want to make any of it that. The rules of the exercise might not match up with what any of us want here, but we’re going to go through the rules of the exercise anyways.”
“Keeping traffic increases to a minimum too and maybe increasing some of the bike trails and the walking trail so you can get to places easier not have everything so spread out,” said resident Lynne Lyne. “I don’t know about you guys but I don’t really want a whole lot of subdivisions again. It’s just so generic and it just increases the population so much.”
“In regards to livability we were talking about how to have the least amount of impact on the environment,” said resident Lyn Sedlak-Ford. “We’d like to live within our space bike walk whatever, maybe small communities.”
“We like the concept of what Battle Ground has done in a little bit south of their city center,” said resident Dan Lyne. “That concept, something similar to that.”
Many community members have, over the past five months, expressed a desire to maintain the entirety of the North Shore as a natural, undeveloped space. Questions put to staff and Mayor Barry McDonnell after the activity, in part, reflected such a desire.
Questions regarding the possibility of a new Community Center plan after 2019’s $78 million proposal was soundly defeated in the election were floated in connection to the North Shore development. Staff and the mayor said no such plan exists at this time. Some community members also asked about the connection to Clark County’s GMA in all of this. The plan expects all cities to create plans for future development and growth.
For more information of the vision that will be presented to council and for future community outreach times, visit www.camasnorthshore.com.