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Post Recession, Little Change In Clark County Growth Boundary

Clark County is holding a series of community meetings to update the county’s comprehensive plan, which takes effect June 2016.

New apartments under construction in Clark County.

New apartments under construction in Clark County.

Michael Clapp/OPB

About a decade ago, the county allowed cities to dramatically expand their urban growth boundaries, anticipating a huge influx of new residents.

But then the recession hit, growth slowed and the promised population boost didn’t happen like officials thought, says Gordy Euler, program manager with Clark County Community Planning.

“And so all this land we thought that we’d need for this higher growth rate — the higher growth rate never happened,” Euler says. “So that’s the reason coming around this time that we have enough land, because we took it all in the last time we updated (the comprehensive plan).”

In the current comprehensive plan, the county is now focusing on a smaller expansion to the urban growth boundaries in cities including Battle Ground and La Center, says Euler.

“When we say we expand the boundary we go, ‘Oh how many more people are going to show up here in the next 20 years? Do we have enough land in current boundaries to accommodate them?’” Euler says. “If we don’t then we expand the boundary.”

Tuesday night planning officials held a meeting in Vancouver, and will be in Camas Wednesday at 7 p.m. Meetings in Ridgefield and Battle Ground are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Euler says even though there’s little change being proposed to the urban growth boundaries in the new comprehensive plan, the county is using the meetings to solicit public comment on environmental, land use and zoning issues.

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