What are the “long-term choices, issues, and opportunities for the Westside Area” of Hood River?
The pending Westside Area Concept Plan coordinated by the City of Hood River is attempting to assess that basic question.
The next opportunity for the community to learn about the project’s progress — no decisions have been made — is Feb. 15 from 6-8:15 p.m. at City Hall. The plan covers the areas on the west side of city limits, roughly Rand Road westward and Westcliff southward, including some areas outside city limits but within the Urban Growth Boundary.
Introductory and scoping meetings were held last fall by the city planning department, and the citizen-based Technical Advisory Committee, with help from Angelo Planning Group of Portland. On Feb. 15, the Planning Advisory Committee will present its work so far, including a series of alternatives. Project manager Joe Dills of Angelo Group will speak, followed by a presentation of concept plan alternatives and an overview of infrastructure, policy and code issues, followed by time for public comment.
The plan envisions that “the Westside Area will grow to become an interconnected community of great neighborhoods, an attractive gateway of commercial and mixed-use activity, and an affordable and diverse area of the City.” The report states that plan hallmarks are:
n Housing options that provide choices for all income levels, life stages, and cultures within Hood River.
n Streets, trails, and paths that are walkable, connected, and green.
n Neighborhood design that celebrates the landforms, views, and magnificent landscape of Hood River.
n Open spaces and parks that support community gathering and a connection to nature. The Westside Area will be an integral part and extension of the larger Hood River community.
All planning alternatives “are conceptual by definition,” according to the summary.
“They are intended to help the Hood River community envision the long-term choices, issues, and opportunities for the Westside Area by starting with the big picture and working to a more detailed scale,” the report states.
The report utilizes “framework plans” to organize the physical aspects of these issues into a set of recommendations addressing:
- Land use
- Major streets
- Connector streets
- Pedestrian and bicycle routes
- Park and open space
- Neighborhood commercial sites
The authors write, “Within each of the above topics, there are a set of issues that have distinct choices, such as the amount and distribution of additional multi-family housing and the alignments for the extension of Mt. Adams.
“One example of what is proposed concerns new transportation routes: Mt. Adams Loop, which runs perpendicular with West Cascade, and extends south for about 200 yards then meets Wine Country, which runs east-west and connects to Country Club after about a half-mile.”
As the document states, “a key transportation issue is the proposed alignment of the Mt. Adams Avenue extension south of Wine County Avenue. As the city grows, this extension is expected to be a critical connectivity improvement in west Hood River that takes a significant amount of traffic from other corridors such as Cascade Avenue. Rand Road and even 13th Street.”
A total of four alignments are considered, all connecting Mt. Adams Loop to May Street or Belmont: due north-south from Mt. Adams Loop to Rocky Road or to 30th; east from Wine Country and then south to 30th; and north-south from where Wine Country meets Country Club, connecting to May Street.
The report authors note that it uses diagrams and generalized graphics, as opposed to site-specific maps, “so the big picture and major choices can be readily viewed and discussed.
“At this stage of creating the Westside Area Concept Plan, it is important to focus on patterns and desired outcomes so direction can be set and more detailed work can implement that direction.”
The authors noted that “Framework Plans” are used to depict the “layers” of the plan. This plan is intentionally comprehensive and addresses all of the issues referenced in the Vision Statement (e.g. land use, housing affordability, transportation, natural resources, parks, etc.).
Other report excerpts:
“A hybrid plan will likely emerge from community review of the alternatives.
“The framework plans also include a set of recommendations for which a base recommendation that could fit with all land use alternatives (e.g. pedestrian and bicycle routes) is suggested.
“Hood River should craft the plan by knitting together the best elements of the alternatives. It is okay to mix and match ideas, and to craft new ideas to create the best plan that can be most widely supported and implemented. The evaluation section of this report is a blend of art and science, which are intended to support structured community discussion and decision making about the plan.
“The process of reviewing the alternatives is as much a qualitative review as a quantitative review, using the Vision, Guiding Principles, and evaluation criteria. “
Two key technical evaluations will follow the Alternatives review: the transportation impact analysis, and the infrastructure plan for water, sanitary sewer, and storm water facilities.