News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Lyons expansion advances housing goals

A recent expansion of the Lyons Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) could help the city stay ahead of housing needs in light of significant population growth forecast for the coming years.

The addition of 28 acres to the UGB was approved by Linn County Commissioners Aug. 8 after the
Lyons City Council gave their approval March 28.

The land is located between E. Dogwood St. and John Neal Memorial County Park and includes 22.8 acres owned by Dan Hafner and 5.2 acres owned by Chong Brenner.

The city’s next step will be to annex the 28 acres into the city limits and designate the property single-family residential, along with seven adjacent acres owned by Hafner already in the UGB.

This comes as Lyons expects to grow from 1,200 residents to 1,500 by 2040 based on a housing needs analysis performed by Portland State University. The study, published in 2021, was part of efforts led by lawmakers to address a statewide housing crisis and included growth estimates for all Oregon cities.

City Planner Dave Kinney said in a 2022 staff report Lyons would need 120 new housing units to accommodate this growth, estimating 25 percent multi-family and 75 percent single-family. To reach this goal, he said, the city would need to annex 29 acres of buildable residential land into the city limits.

The 35 total acres the city plans to annex includes roughly 24 buildable acres, as 11 acres of Hafner’s property are in a wetland or floodplain and considered undevelopable. This leaves the city five acres shy of its goal.

Plans for annexation were under way before the PSU study was published, with Hafner approaching officials in 2020 with the goal of developing and potentially subdividing his land. 

Brenner’s property was later added by the city to annexation, with her consent, because it was adjacent to Hafner’s land and was also suitable for residential development.

In addition to city annexation, Hafner’s land must be annexed into the Lyons-Mehama Water District before development can begin. Kinney’s report said the district must first complete a new 1-million-gallon reservoir, funded through a $5 million pandemic relief grant.

The report also identified potential negative impacts on John Neal Park if the neighboring property were developed for residential use. Kinney said these impacts could be mitigated by adding a boundary between the park and the new residences, similar to existing boundaries along Seventh and Juniper streets.

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