Year ends without Prineville city plan

Council hopes to complete first-ever growth plan in ’07

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: December 26. 2006 5:00AM PST

For months, Prineville city councilors have been saying that they wanted to approve the city’s new comprehensive plan by the end of the year.

The council’s last meeting of the year was scheduled for today. But negotiations with Crook County, whose comprehensive plan currently guides city planning, couldn’t be concluded on time and the meeting was canceled.

That means veteran councilors Brenda Comini and Chet Petersen, who decided not to run for re-election this year, will not be able to preside over the completion of the comprehensive plan process. The council has been talking about adopting a plan for several years and actively working on it for about a year.

“I’ve been here four years, and I basically have accomplished everything I set out to do,” Petersen said. “The only thing that’s remaining on the table – and we’re very close to accomplishing that – is the individual comp plan of the city of Prineville.”

Petersen said that he is not worried that the arrival of two new councilors will further delay the adoption of the comprehensive plan. “I would certainly hope that the new council keeps that as the high priority that I know it is right now and gets that accomplished within the first 30 to 60 days.”

Comini, who could not be reached for comment, has expressed doubt in the past that the plan would be passed by the new year.

The goal of the comprehensive plan is to provide a road map for future growth in the community. Petersen described it as a “living document” that can be adapted as the need arises. Prineville is now operating under the county’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 1978 and updated in the mid-1990s.

“You will have to go back in from time to time and adjust your comp plan,” Petersen said. “I think one of the perceptions is that you set it in stone as your own comp plan and then you can’t do anything about it, and that’s just simply not true.”

Incoming councilor Dean Noyes said that the new council has already met to discuss its goals for 2007, and adopting the comprehensive plan is at the top of the list.

Noyes said he does not have any major concerns with the details of the plan – city employees released a draft in April and have been refining it since then. But he added that one of his goals while on the council is to help improve communication between the county and city.

“The relationship between the city and the county government is an important one, and that’s the fulcrum that’s tying up this approval,” Noyes said. “I just talked to (Chet Petersen) the other day about it and (approving the plan) was one of his primary objectives before he left. And that’s obviously not going to happen in terms of being official and in place, but that’s on the front of the plate for the rest of us in the first quarter.”

Steve Uffelman, a second incoming member who has served on the City Council and as Prineville’s mayor in the past, said he has not reviewed the whole of the draft comprehensive plan.

“From what I know of it and what I have read of it, I really don’t see any major issues at all in the comp plan,” Uffelman said. “I think the comp plan is well constructed, I think it will serve the community well.”

Despite having to leave before the comp plan is officially in place, Petersen helped tackle a number of things during his four-year term.

Petersen said that when he ran for office in 2002 he thought he would probably serve just one term. He has been a vocal participant in council meetings on a variety of issues.

“I’m really for term limitations for everyone, I see senators that have been in there since time began almost,” he said. “I said, ‘This can’t be good in the long run,’ so I go in, I work really hard for four years, do my very best, and then step aside and give someone else a chance.”

He said that some of the council’s major accomplishments during his term included the construction of a new City Hall and the clarification of the city’s budget process.

“What I really would like to see is more people step up to the plate and serve on the budget committees and all the other committees that we have, and city council, and get involved in your city government,” he said. “I think people need to get more involved because I don’t think they understand some of the complexities of what goes on in city and county government.”

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