The West side of Hood River may be poised to enjoy a new park facility if upcoming Hood River County Planning Commission meetings go well and county department staff advice is followed.

With the 31.5 acres already purchased by the county poised for transformation into a public park, the formal review procedures are now under way.

A public Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for May 9, where the Hood River County Parks and Recreation department hopes to have a clearer picture to present to the community on the property located at the corner of Barrett and Alameda drives.

In anticipation of that meeting, county community development department staff have prepared a 20-page staff report, evaluating zoning and amenity issues that will dictate the future nature of the park currently zoned EFU (exclusive farm use).

Section 7.40(F) of the planning code notes that EFU-zoned land “allows parks, playgrounds or community centers owned and operated by a government agency ...” as a conditional use. The county will proceed to seek allowance under a “passive and low-intensity” park definition, issued by staff at Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

That zoning pathway to development places some very specific limitations on the types of facilities and land-alterations that may take place — essentially “minimizing any permanent or intense development or infrastructure.”

Translated by planning staff, those restrictions resulted in the following recommended changes (among others) to the proposal under consideration:

n Parking spaces would be reduced from 119 to 70 spaces and would not be paved with asphalt or slab concrete, but may be hard-surfaced. A grassy overflow parking area for 30 additional vehicles would be made available.

n Elimination of the bike skill development area trail and bocce ball courts

n Three picnic shelters, a restroom building and small playground would be the only structures

n No portions of the park shall be lined or contain backstops, bases, goal posts, rails, tracks or other facilities used to accommodate organized sports

n Park shall not be reserved for nor encouraged for use by organized teams or events

n Access road, parking areas and pathways may not be paved unless for ADA accessibility

n An erosion/sediment control plan must be submitted and approved

A full copy of the staff report may be obtained by request at the Hood River County Parks and Recreation Department or the Community Development Department.

The Planning Commission meeting is 7 p.m. May 9, 601 State St., Hood River.

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