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Heights Urban Renewal plans move forward

June 9, 2011

News staff writer

The proposed Urban Renewal District Plan for the Heights area within the City of Hood River remains on track following a planning commission meeting July 5.

At that meeting, the commission forwarded its recommendation that the city council approve the plan with small changes.

Two modifications were included the commission's evaluation. The first urges the council to adopt a set of design guidelines or standards for façade treatments on buildings in the district. The second urges consideration for establishing a "land bank" which could be used for future off-street parking needs.

The next opportunities for the public to learn more on the plan will be July 21 at 6 p.m. during the Urban Renewal Agency review meeting to be held at 301 Oak St.

On July 25 at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers at 211 Second St., the city council will take public comment on the plan prior to a vote.

Currently identified Heights UR projects include storm water and sewer improvements, water line upgrades, parking improvements, land acquisition, streetscape improvements, possible pocket parks and green space.

A business assistance (loan) program will also be established with UR funds for façade improvements and other business upgrades.

Taxing districts that will be affected by the new Heights UR district include Hood River County General fund, 9-1-1, City of Hood River, Port of Hood River, Hood River Parks and Recreation, Hood River Transportation District, Columbia Gorge Community College, Hood River School District and Columbia Gorge Educational Service District.

Tax districts affected by tax sharing often support UR projects, which generally increase property values and improve both economic activity and infrastructure within the zones.

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