Council exploring two UGB expansion options

The Keizer City Council responded to the results of a recent study examining the impacts of expanding the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) on transportation infrastructure at its meeting Monday, Oct. 12.

The study looked at two possible routes of expanding the city’s UGB. One that focuses solely on industrial and commercial growth, the second includes a larger commercial-industrial area in addition to expanded residential options.

The costs are not insignificant. The industry-focused expansion could cost the city an additional $17 million in improvements. The mixed use option could cost an additional $36 million. Both options also require completing another $16 million in planned improvements. In a cost-per-trip comparison, the mixed use option offers more bang for the buck.

The Keizer Planning Commission focused on the big picture aspects of the study a week prior. The city council took a more in-the-weeds look.

Mayor Cathy Clark asked what types of traffic controls were included when analyzing the impact to intersections. She advocated for roundabouts instead of signalized intersections.

“This doesn’t include the type of intersection controls and that will be a decision for the city at a later date,” said Carl Springer, a project manager with DKS, the city’s consultant on the study.

Councilor Dan Kohler asked whether existing homes and the traffic generated were included in the reports.

Springer responded that the traffic counts were based on historical data from 2017 and pre-pandemic traffic counts completed in the months before COVID-19 lockdowns.

Councilor Laura Reid asked how recent changes to the areas around River Road North and Cherry Avenue – aimed to encourage more housing options – factored into the calculations of the transportation study.

“That will be more of a separate process when the city updates its transportation plan. That plan looks at the individual intersections along River Road and how residential growth will affect them,” said Shane Witham, the interim director of community development.

Clark said the study will be another piece of the puzzle as Keizer considers its growth options.

“This will inform the list of projects we will be working on,” Clark said. “We start here and keep adjusting.”

Springer said the city should conduct a funding analysis to determine what options exist outside the city’s budget and development fees for financing the projects.