Proposed Urban Renewal District Could Mean 1,300 New Housing Units

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A conceptual image of what a proposed new housing development along Feedville Road could look like.

The Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency, made up of members of the Hermiston City Council, gave the go-ahead Monday night for city staff to begin development plans for a new urban renewal district along Feedville Road that could result in 1,300 new housing units.

Prior to Monday’s city council meeting, the urban renewal agency heard from Luke Pickerill, owner of Monte Vista Homes, about his plan for new development encompassing 353 acres in the former C&B Feedlot. The development would be a mix of single-family, workforce family, apartments, and senior housing.

The land was originally annexed into the city in the early 2000s and was intended to be developed into a golf course and residential community, but that never happened. Now Pickerill wants to take a crack at it but without the golf course.

It would, however, include plenty of amenities including a large public park and trail system along with a proposed food truck pod and taphouse. The development would also include land set aside for the city for a potential new school and fire station.

But the land, known as The Hayfields, needs a large infrastructure investment, specifically $5.5 million for a 2-million-gallon water tank, well and new water main, as well as $4.5 million for park improvements. That investment would be paid for up front by the city.

Mayor Dave Drotzmann said he his only concern was the city being stuck with a $10 million investment without a guarantee of a single house being built.

Pickerill said the city wouldn’t be the only ones making a large financial commitment. Monte Vista Homes would be investing around $4-5 million to develop streets and water and sewer lines.

Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said even if not a single housing unit is built, the entire city would benefit from the improved infrastructure, which would facilitate growth over the next several decades.

Pickerill said there is growing demand for new housing, particularly as the millennial generation enters the home-buying market. He estimated that as many as 80-90 new housing units could be built each year.

The city council, acting in its capacity as urban renewal agency, voted 8-0 to give staff the authorization to begin planning for a new urban renewal district. There will be public outreach efforts over the summer with the hope that the plan could go before the council by the end of summer.

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