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Historically Eugene used the term Refinement Plan to describe plans that took the city-wide policies of the Comprehensive Plan and tailored them to a neighborhood. They were adopted as refinements to the Comprehensive Plan (at that time, known as the Metro Plan). However, in the mid-1990s Oregon land use law was revised, creating a legal definition for the term Refinement Plan.
Because aspects of the state definition of a Refinement Plan do not always align with community expectations, the Planning Division has moved away from referring to locally adopted plans as Refinement Plans. We are using the terms area plan and neighborhood plan because they avoid confusion with refinement plans under the state statute.
A neighborhood plan involves broad, comprehensive planning for one or more neighborhoods. The process is guided by a project charter that outlines the decision making structure. The plan -- including vision, goals and policies, an action plan, and potential land use code provisions resulting from the process -- is adopted by the City Council and County Board of Commissioners (when the County is involved), an important attribute for community members who want to make sure that the plan has legal standing and guides future decision making. By moving away from the term Refinement Plan, the planning division is hoping we can focus on the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods' desired outcomes, without risking confusion with state defined terminology.
Community input will continue throughout the Adoption Phase. This input will help inform the community recommendation from the River Road and Santa Clara Community Organizations and the Community Advisory Committee. The community recommendation will be forwarded to the Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions to begin the formal adoption process. The formal adoption process will include work sessions and public hearings with Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions as well as Eugene City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners. The Planning Commissions will deliberate and form a recommendation to City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners. The Council and Board will then deliberate and ultimately take action to adopt the plan adoption package.
The River Road Corridor Study is a subset of the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan that analyzes land use along the River Road Corridor, from Northwest Expressway and River Road up to the location of the planned Santa Clara Transit Center at Hunsaker Lane. The Corridor Study considers the needs of those who live and work in the River Road area, how they get around, where they shop and live, and how the corridor looks and feels. The Corridor Study will result in an analysis, code amendments and recommendations to support implementation of the neighborhood vision. Both the Corridor Study and the Neighborhood Plan promote development that is well designed and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) along with the River Road and Santa Clara Community Organizations will form a community recommendation on the Corridor Study and Neighborhood Plan before the formal adoption process begins.
The Neighborhood Plan envisions a thriving, vibrant neighborhood center along River Road with a variety of housing options and shopping areas serviced by a transportation system that is safe, accessible, affordable, and environmentally responsible. Maintaining the character of the neighborhoods while addressing the housing needs of the community is a priority of the plan. The River Road Corridor Study Draft Preferred Zoning Concept envisions neighborhood centers with different housing types as well as transition standards and protections for the Willamette Greenway. Focusing on land use along the River Road corridor will support improved transit service while making the area more walkable. Check out the Draft Preferred Zoning Concept map!
The process is a collaboration among the River Road and Santa Clara community organizations, the City of Eugene, and Lane County, so the final plan will affect the neighborhoods in their entirety, both incorporated (City) and unincorporated (County) areas. There is an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Eugene and Lane County that delegates to the City all responsibilities for land use, zoning, and building permitting authority inside the urban growth boundary. This means that every resident has a stake in the future adopted neighborhood plan, regardless of jurisdiction.
The community organizations, as well as City and County planning staff, have agreed that annexation is best addressed after the neighborhood plan is complete. Attempting to tackle both neighborhood planning and resolving complex public service delivery simultaneously could prove detrimental to the successful completion of the neighborhood plan process. This would be a disappointment to residents who have put a lot of time and energy into this project.
Project charterLane County and City of Eugene Intergovernmental Agreement (1987)
Many residents said they place a lot of value on the parks within their neighborhood, and provided valuable input on ways to expand or improve recreation opportunities. A common question was about the future of undeveloped park land, specifically land that the City of Eugene purchased in recent years.
There are various planning documents that lay out the future goals for Eugene parks, and the Parks and Recreation System Plan is especially helpful. This document provides the results of a 2016 Needs Assessment, lays out the vision and guiding principles of the 30-year strategic plan, and provides a clear path forward with a 10-year implementation plan. The Parks and Recreation System Plan is citywide, but Appendix A provides a summary for each planning district. River Road and Santa Clara are considered one planning district, and the district summary provides detailed information on specific proposed parks projects, which includes cost estimates and a priority ranking.
Parks and Recreation System PlanAppendix: River Road-Santa Clara Planning District Summary
The riverfront in River Road and Santa Clara is part of the larger Willamette Greenway, which runs from Eugene to Portland. It is an important community asset. Most of the River Road portion of the riverfront is in the West Bank park, stretching from Maurie Jacobs Park to the Owosso Bike Bridge. This park land is managed by the City’s Parks and Open Space Division. This means that City park rules apply and planned park development is laid out in the Parks and Rec System Plan.
For concerns about illegal activity along the riverfront, contact the City’s Park Watch program. The Park Watch website provides statistics on incidents within parks, such as illegal camping and incidents requiring a police response.
Eugene Parks and Open Space websiteReport safety issues to Park Watch
Urban Reserves planning is a part of a long-standing tradition in Oregon and Eugene to plan for urban growth that is led by statewide planning goals. The River Road Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan addresses the vision of the River Road and Santa Clara communities for future development. The goal of Urban Reserve planning is to identify where Eugene may grow beyond our current urban growth boundary (UGB) to accommodate up to 50 years of projected population growth. All land within the Urban Reserves study area is being evaluated to determine whether it is suitable for inclusion. To help protect farm and forest land, state law has specific requirements about which lands should be included, non-resource land being highest priority, which are lands that are not currently being used for agricultural purposes or are a natural resource. If your land is designated within Urban Reserves and it lies within the boundaries of the Neighborhood Plan, your land will remain rural until it goes through the formal state-directed process for UGB expansion and will then be annexed into city limits. For more information, visit the Urban Reserves webpage.
Traffic is a concern that frequently arises in discussions surrounding the Neighborhood Plan and Corridor Study. Improving safety and efficiency for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and public transit is a priority of the plan and involves many partners at the city, county, and state level. The Draft Neighborhood Plan addresses traffic and transportation by envisioning the development of new bicycle and pedestrian routes and connections, improving Beltline, and increasing transit service to the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods. This is consistent with Eugene’s 2035 Transportation System Plan, which has a goal to triple the percentage of trips made on foot, by bike and transit in the next twenty years. The City of Eugene also passed the Climate Recovery Ordinance, which includes community wide goals that aim to reduce emissions by the year 2030 by reducing fossil fuel dependence by 50% compared to 2010 usage.
Want to learn about ongoing transportation projects in River Road-Santa Clara, and how they relate to the Neighborhood Plan? Check out this factsheet of transportation projects!
Many residents expressed a desire for information about specific vacant lots in their neighborhood. Concerns ranged from public safety to the perception that the development process was taking too long. The City of Eugene has an obligation to apply regulations fairly and evenly to all properties, meaning that developing a property can take varying amounts of time based on the size or complexity of a proposed project and the associated public review process.
It is important to note that private property is developed at the discretion of the owner, who may choose to wait to develop the land for various reasons. The nature of private property also means that there may be limited information available about the future plans for a particular site.
Residents can sign up to receive a weekly email notifying them of new land use applications that the City of Eugene has received. This allows community members to stay informed when new projects are proposed. These emails include land use applications across the city and are not exclusive to River Road and Santa Clara.
Search land use applications received by the City of EugeneSign up for land use applications newsletter
Goals of the Draft Neighborhood Plan aim to protect agricultural land and open space within the neighborhood boundaries. Some of the action items include considering agricultural land preservation as part of long-range planning initiatives. Other action items include strengthening the community of farms and fresh produce by creating small scale urban agricultural enterprise zoning and incentivizing urban agricultural practices in the neighborhoods. See the Topic Area webpage for more information on Parks and Natural Resources draft actions.
The Santa Clara-River Road Outreach and Learning (SCRROL) final report (2012) listed public safety as a key concern among residents. During the Reaching Out phase of the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan in Fall 2017, many people expressed an interest in Neighborhood Watch programs as a solution.
City residents who are interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch group should contact the Eugene Police Department’s crime prevention specialist assigned to their neighborhood. Find contact information for the current crime prevention specialist. Residents of River Road and Santa Clara should contact the crime prevention specialist assigned to beats 5 and 6.
County residents that are interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch group should read through the handbook below that is provided by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. This lists the necessary steps and provides contact information for the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.
Residents have expressed a desire for library access, especially in the Santa Clara neighborhood. There were also questions about what library services are currently available. The handbook below was created by the River Road-Santa Clara Transition Project team and provides an excellent overview of library services available to City and County residents.
City residents can get a library card at no cost by visiting any City of Eugene public library location with proof of residence. County residents are also able to get a card to Eugene public libraries, but must pay a fee. As of March 2018, the annual fee is $130 per household. Both City and County residents can attend events and classes at the Eugene public libraries, regardless of whether they hold a library card.
A Guide to Urban Services in River Road and Santa ClaraCity of Eugene Library website