Hillsboro’s government wants to build 850 housing units south of the Witch Hazel neighorhood, but can only do that if the Metro government agrees to expand the Urban Growth Boundary. So city officials are working on their pitch.

Laura Weigel, Hillsboro’s Long Range Planning Manager, outlined the plan in a May 1 work session with city council members.

“Even with the buildout of South Hillsboro, we’re short about 1,300 single housing units,” said Weigel. “We have to put a package together that explains why we’re ready to handle this growth.”

The area in question, outlined above in diagonal green lines, is 150 acres previously designated urban reserve by Metro, and all 12 landowners want to come into the urban growth boundary, according to Weigel. The plan, pending Metro approval, is to fill the area with residential neighborhoods ranging from single family units to apartment complexes.

City Council sounded broadly supportive during the work session, but some members had questions. Councillor Anthony Martin, for example, questioned the environmental rhetoric used to sell the plan.

“One of the stated goals here is walkability, and my question is walkable to where?” said Martin. “This is 150 acres and all of it is residential.”

City Manager Michael Brown responded saying previous Urban Growth Boundary discussions are the issue.

“The intent was to have a commercial area south of this, but that was cut off,” said Brown. “But it still could happen long term.”

Councillor Rick Van Beveren voiced concern about increased traffic on TV Highway.

“I’m not sure people believe that we can service this with transportation infrastructure,” said Van Beveren, “I think those criticisms are valid.”

Applications for expanding the Urban Growth Boundary are due this month. If Metro rejects this plan Hillsboro will likely re-apply in 2023.

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