Of the Keizertimes

There had been discussion at the May 20 Keizer City Council meeting of how much land Keizer will possibly need in 20 years, the numbers behind the Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) and the Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA).

Staff discussed the work behind the numbers and consultants explained the changes suggested during Planning Commission meetings.

Mayor Lore Christopher, however, wanted to switch to a somewhat tangent topic.

“I want to talk about schools,” Christopher said. “Can we do it now? Even though we’ll be 70 by the time this is built out, let’s say each new home has one kid. We’re talking 2,000 new kids. Where will those kids go to school? The middle schools are at capacity and our high school is as well.”

Earlier, consultant Brendan Buckley had presented 20-year growth projections calling for more than 4,300 new households, with more than 2,000 new housing units needed. To accommodate such growth, Keizer would need 384.5 new acres, with 267.6 of those acres dedicated to residential. Schools would need 10 acres.

Buckley said based on calculations from the Salem-Keizer School District, the growth projection would account for 25 percent of a new middle school and 25 percent of a new high school.

Christopher and councilor Dennis Koho both questioned the numbers.

“If the current high school is already over capacity and new housing takes it over, how much over capacity before there’s a need for a new one?” Koho asked.

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