Prineville creating comprehensive plan

City has been relying on county plan since 1970s

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: November 10. 2006 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – As the population of Prineville continues to swell, city officials want to make sure they are on top of planning for that growth.

After relying on Crook County’s comprehensive plan since the 1970s, the Prineville City Council is pushing to approve its own comprehensive plan by the end of the year.

Prineville is one of the only cities in Central Oregon without its own comprehensive plan, which would provide a road map for future development and planning.

“Cities traditionally need a different comp plan than counties do because it’s a total different look at planning (and) urbanization,” Prineville Mayor Mike Wendel said.

The city and county planning commissions held two joint workshops last month and this month, and a public hearing on the issue is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7. Councilors may meet on Dec. 26 to approve the plan.

Hearing said he thinks some councilors want to finish the project by January because they are retiring from the council at the end of the year. Chet Petersen and Brenda Comini, two longtime council members, did not run for re-election this year.

“Some of our outgoing councilors are at the forefront of wanting this to occur, they’d hate to see this happen after they’re gone,” Hearing said.

Comini said the council has been working on forming a comprehensive plan for almost two years. She said she is not sure how probable it is that the plan will be passed by the new year.

“I don’t think me being the vote on that is going to make it or break it, so I am really confident that they are moving in the right direction, and if they don’t get it done by the end of the year they will get it done shortly thereafter,” Comini said.

Officials said the city now needs its own plan because of the growth it has experienced and expects to continue. According to Portland State University’s Population Research Center, Prine-ville’s population grew about 23 percent between 2000 and 2005, to more than 9,000 residents.

Currently, Prineville operates under Crook County’s comprehensive plan, which has been in place since 1978 and was updated in the mid-1990s. The city’s draft plan includes a mixture of regulations, recommendations and goals for the community’s development, and focuses heavily on improving the downtown business district, establishing appropriate land use ordinances and protecting Prineville’s small-town feel and natural landscape.

Comprehensive plans generally deal with the long-term goals of a community in planning for growth and development, and must include public input and be approved by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, according to the agency’s Web site.

“The goals of the county plan as opposed to the goals of the city plan are probably pretty different – the goals of the city are to grow and flourish and expand, and the goals of the county are oftentimes regulated by state government that says, ‘Protect and preserve,'” Hearing said. “We’re a large enough community now where our plans probably have to go their separate ways and we need a plan that’s specific to Prineville to allow us to grow the way we need to grow.”

Two guiding principles of the draft plan are value-driven planning and developing complete neighborhoods, where residents can live, shop, work and play. According to the text, the plan is a “dynamic document that will be modified, refined, and changed from time to time when new values are determined.”

Hearing said there is no single objective or vision for the plan.

“There is no basic goal of the city of Prineville comprehensive plan, other than to do the things that help Prineville grow and prosper,” he said. “We’re looking to foster complete neighborhoods and accommodate the growth in an orderly fashion.”

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