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The city of Corvallis is about to embark on an effort to update its area plans.

The lack of updated plans has been a talking point throughout a series of recent high-profile land-use cases, including annexation proposals along West Hills Road and development in the Timberhill area as well as the urban renewal district for South Corvallis, which voters approved in March.

South Corvallis, or study area A, will be the first of the city’s six regions to get reviewed, with the City Council signing off on the South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan process at its Oct. 21 meeting. The plan has not been updated since 1997.

Over the next five years the city also will redo plans for the west (B) and north (E) parts of town as well as the central core (C). Names for those plans will be established during the work that creates them (see a map of the study areas at the website).

“This project is intended to take a detailed look at the issues, needs and opportunities in South Corvallis and to develop a plan derived from community consensus on issues such as land use and transportation that help promote the vision for South Corvallis as a complete neighborhood,” wrote Paul Bilotta, community development director, in the staff report that the council reviewed.

The link between the South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan (SCARP) document and urban renewal, Bilotta said, is that “the (SCARP) planning process helps the community determine what it wants and the urban renewal district is one of the financial tools to help make it happen.”

The city plans to finish the project organization, data gathering and base analysis and preparation pieces by the end of the year, with community engagement and plan drafting set for 2020 and project completion, adoption and land-use actions set for the first six months of 2021.

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A departmental advisory committee to assist with the work, Bilotta said, will be established in December or January.

The process period overlaps with work that the Oregon Department of Transportation is planning for the Highway 99 corridor.

“City and ODOT staff will be working in close communications to ensure that the projects support one another … and do not result in conflicting plans," Bilotta wrote.

The ODOT work, said Angela Beers Seydel, public information officer for Region 2, will consist of two phases.

The first phase, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting, includes pavement markings on the multiuse path in front of the First Alternative Co-op that will extend from Chapman Place to Crystal Lake Drive. ODOT also plans to replace the flashing lights at the four pedestrian crossings with rectangular rapid flashing beacon lights (see "South Corvallis Active Transportation Enhancement Project" map at the website).

The second phase, called a facility plan, will define future intersection changes such as realignments or roundabouts, crossing improvements, etc., which will be informed by the Corvallis Transportation System Plan and proposed land use changes. No projects are scheduled in the short-term, but with urban renewal dollars and zoning changes, future development could trigger highway improvements, Beers Seydel said.

The facility plan will include community engagement, with dates, or at least timelines, available by the spring or summer of 2020.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-812-6116. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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