The January 11 General Meeting: UGB Expansion and Crime Watch

Crest Drive Citizen’s Association General Meeting
Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 7 pm – 8:45 pm at Morse Family Farm, Crest Drive.

Board members in attendance: David Kolb, Karen Austin, Eunice Kjaer, Francina Verrijt
Guest Speakers: Alissa Hansen and Terri Harding, City of Eugene Planning Dept.; Shawn and Jeremy, City of Eugene Police Department.
Number of neighbors present: 23

Meeting Agenda: Board reports; Guest speakers on 1) proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion, and 2) neighborhood home break-ins.

Board reports:
Treasurer’s Report by David Kolb; current balance is $499.76. Crest Drive Citizen’s Association (CDCA) neighborhood history books available for $10 to augment budget. David asked if anyone wanted to purchase snacks or beverages for general meetings and the only response was “no”.

Proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion

Terri Harding is a senior planner with the City of Eugene. She manages the public involvement of the urban growth boundary (UGB) extension project. Alissa Hansen, is a planner with City, and will talk about the analysis of the data regarding urban growth boundary extension. They gave a slide show.

Envision Eugene is a study to determine needs to accommodate anticipated growth in next 20 years. UGB has to be sized to match anticipated growth and job projections by law. The population numbers come from Portland State and were adopted by Eugene City Council. The projection is for another 30 thousand residents in the next 20 years. This process is about deciding whether the current UGB should be expanded.

Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment (ECLA) focused on lands existing in UGB. In this report it was determined that if we continue to grow as we have in the past we need more space. For the UGB process they used a variety of numbers to construct several models for Eugene growth. Planners worked w/community resource groups, neighbors, and others to find out what they should strive for, and what should be included. See the 7 Pillars document (draft proposal) on web site for more information. They are now at end of the strategy refinement phase of this process. Next step is Implementation.

7 Pillars document included information from seven general categories: Economic opportunities, Affordable housing, Climate and energy, Compact development and transportation, Neighborhood livability (trees, fresh air; different for different neighborhoods, use existing feel of development), Natural Resources (prioritize preservation of farm and forest land – state law), Flexible implementation (future is a guess, plan should be flexible and adapt over time; work with LCD to build into plan to make it more adaptable). Outcomes from the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) were considered in this planning effort. For instance, the 20 minute neighborhood idea from CEAP was considered. This encourages the growth of services in areas that are underserved, and encourages infill of housing in areas that have adequate services, with the objective of encouraging walking /biking/busing to schools or shopping and reducing the need for driving.

Single family housing (SFH) has the biggest demand in Eugene(as opposed to Multi-family housing (MFH). The presenters talked about the values for this type of housing only, but gave various ratios of SFH to MFH used to model land acreages. The question asked here is how many new SF houses (housing units) are needed in Eugene in the next 20 years? Need is based on one population projection – up to 34,000 more people by 2031. The mix of SFH to MFH to use in modeling can be changed and will create a big difference in the amount of acreage needed for growth in the future. The ratio used historically in planning for SF/MF housing is 60/40. Current trend is to shift to smaller houses and smaller lots and a SF/MFH mix of 55/45. Using the more equal ratio, a total of 8,200 additional SF housing units are projected to be needed in Eugene in the next 20 years.

City planners also looked at how much development could occur within the current UGB, on currently undeveloped and underdeveloped lands, including vacant lands, large lots with houses that could be split and developed, and properties that could be redeveloped. There is a possibility of changing zoning rules to include a greater density of homes, but Eugene already has zoning that includes houses in small lots. Using the SFH/MFH ratio of 55/45 the total number of possible housing units that can be added to un/underdeveloped lands now within the existing UGB is about 7,500 – 8,500 units.
The different between the number of needed units minus the number that could be met in existing UGB is the unmet need of between 0 – 690 units.

The estimated total number of acres needed for unmet future SF housing need of 0 to 690 units (assuming a 55/45 SF/MF ratio, and a density of 4.2 units/acre), including commercial, park and services, is 134 – 360 acres.
The projected SF unit needs and acreage numbers are sensitive to SFH/MFH ratio. If the modeling were done using a 40/60 ratio there would be no further need for units and acreage.

Alissa: Info on analysis for SFH lands only.

The current City of Eugene UGB has been the same since 1982. This process of changing an UGB is very tightly controlled by state law.

First step is to identify the highest priority lands for inclusion into the UGB. Law says the process has to consider lands other than Farm/Forest first. Alissa showed a map which has areas with current residential use, or planned for residential use in Lane County close to the city’s current UGB.

In first priority lands have to look at many things regarding suitability: natural hazards, wetlands, waterways, steep slopes, floodplains or other significant natural features. An important consideration is whether utilities and services (water, storm water, sewer, streets and public transportation) can be reasonably built in the area considered. If there is not enough first priority land the city can consider the next priority of land, which is land with marginal farm or forest value. There are numerous areas being considered for inclusion into the UGB around the Eugene area. Alissa talked about each of these areas.

[For purposes of the CDCA general meeting notes I only included the one area being considered that directly effects our neighborhood. K.A.]

The area off of Crest Drive and Chambers Road (to the south of this intersection), in the Crest Drive Neighborhood, is one of the largest areas being considered for UGB expansion, an area of about 485 acres. Some of this area has slopes over 25%, and there are some concerns about the shape of the area for consideration of utilities and services. Things that this area has going for it in terms of inclusion: immediately adjacent to current boundary, is near MFH areas, and does not have as much sloped lands as some other areas under consideration. There is a big piece of land zoned agricultural right in the middle, but there is a possibility of being able to consider Forest/Farm lands in the process, especially lower priority lands with marginal soils. The boundary shape of the parcels in this area are very irregular and not connected which makes planning difficult, because services require connection and complete loops. Planners have flexibility to straighten out lot lines. There are some questions about transportation into this area. Alissa cannot answer these questions at this time. Chambers seems to be the highest capacity street in this area so it’s likely most traffic would move this direction.
Next steps: More detailed analysis on serving these areas will occur, including the expected cost for sewer/water/electric, areas adjacent to each of the highest priority lands (farm, natural areas, industrial) and public input from neighbors. If not enough of current areas being studied make it into a final process, planners can go back and reconsider some marginal Farm/Forest lands.

Meeting schedule for this process is on the web site calendar. In March there will be a presentation of full recommendation to the City Council. Then there will be community forums, public hearings and council discussions. There is e-newsletter – can contact Terri to get on this list: .

See the Envision Eugene web site for more information:

Neighborhood Crime

Shawn and Jeremy, police officers from the City of Eugene Police Department, took time out of their busy schedules to talk with us about home break-ins, prevention, and how you can help EPD to collect evidence to convict thieves.

This discussion is in response to residents’ increasing concern over a series of break-ins on Blanton Rd., Storey Blvd., and adjacent streets, mostly in the afternoons, beginning in March 2011. Eugene is in the 80% percentile for property crime in nation, so the Eugene Police Department (EPD) is “running to catch up”. Crest Drive neighborhood has always been a relatively low crime area in Eugene and still is. Most theft crime in our city is related to low income drug users looking for easy cash, and is exacerbated by the limited City of Eugene jail space, which puts non-violent crime suspects back out on the streets quickly.

The trend in home break-ins is day time burglaries. The assumption that thieves make is that everyone is at work and school. A common scenario is that a stranger knocks on the front door, has a false story if someone answers, but if no one answers the door the criminal walks around the back, and breaks in through a window. They can take their time and look for specific things. Preferred items to steal are electronics, jewelry, guns, and cash. Cars sitting in driveway are also stolen. Thieves look for car keys in drawers.

What can you do to lower the chance of a home break-in? Join or start a Neighborhood Watch program for your street. Make a phone tree between neighbors, where all your neighbors are invested in protecting each other’s homes. The pressure not to be a nosy neighbor can allow crime to happen right next door. Know your neighbor’s phone numbers, their schedules (work, vacation).

Make your home and car look less easy to break into or steal than others. The use of a car steering wheel lock (the club) is a good deterrent and can be purchased from EPD at cost. Using outside, motion activated lights, fortifying structures, having secured outbuildings, using electronic security with outside alarms (even if not monitored) are all good ways to discourage break-ins. There are home security systems that are relatively affordable and that will set off outdoor alarms (scare off thieves, alert neighbors) and send messages to cell phones. Do some shopping online for different systems. Home security services which will come to your home in the event of an alarm are available although somewhat costly.
The officers emphasized that police will not come to an unverified alarm, so someone has to be on site to verify that a crime occurred. Most docile family dogs are not a theft deterrent.

There are things you can do to prevent losses if your house is burglarized. Call police as soon as you find a break-in, but understand that it might take time for police to get there. Don’t clean up before police get there because this can destroy evidence.

Locked file cabinets can help deter thieves from taking personal information, which can result in identify theft. Write down serial numbers of items likely to be stolen. Some electronic devices have built-in GPS units to track. Take pictures of jewelry and valuables: it will help police get these back to you.

The EPD can help you prevent home break-ins. EPD can send out an officer to walk through your house, and give ideas to fortify your home and help deter crime. A volunteer from EPD will come and video tape personal items in home and give you a copy. Home vacation checks can be requested. A volunteer with EPD will come by your house and check the exterior.

Data-led patrols are an important part of reducing crime. If homeowners report all burglaries and car crimes, even small thefts, EPD can track property crime and link crimes to known offenders. This can help to build effective cases which put repeat offenders in prison.

Karen Austin, CDCA Board Secretary