Croman timeline established

The final plan for the Croman Mill site on the east side of town should be finished in one year from now, said Community Development Director Bill Molnar told the Planning Commission Tuesday night, with conceptual plans done by early summer.

The site, bordered by Tolman Creek Road, Siskiyou Boulevard and the railroad tracks, was designated a "Quick Response Project" by the state, meant to create "compact, pedestrian-friendly and livable neighborhoods and activity centers."

The state department of land, conservation and development has charged Portland-based Crandall Arambula, the same firm that worked on the downtown plan, with creating a design with a main purpose of renewing economic growth on the industrial-zone site, with additional possibilities of residential use, Molnar said.

Wetland Protection

The commission also discussed the wetland and riparian area protection ordinance, a major addition to the municipal code meant to regulate development and construction near identified wetlands and streams.

The changes are being made to make the code consistent with the city's comprehensive plan, meet city council and statewide planning codes, and to support the city's storm water management plan.

Commissioners said the most basic reason for the ordinance was much simpler.

"We're not doing this because the state told us to," said Commissioner Dave Dotterrer. "We're doing it because we want to protect water resources."

Among the concerns commissioners addressed were how to distinguish between natural and manmade wetlands, if shrubbery removal could be regulated under the ordinance, the practicality of including wildlife habitat protection, and the size of buffers and setbacks.

Commissioners seemed split on how to balance the rights of property owners and the public good.

"A public benefit is also an individual person's benefit as well," said chair John Stromberg. "The more reasonable we can be, the more willing people will be to go along with this."

Dotterrer said he disagreed on the meaning of a community value.

"I'm a firm believer in allowing people to do what they want to do with their property, and that's a community value," he said.

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