Hillsboro Planning Commission finalizes contents of community-wide survey

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro Planning Commission did final fine-tuning on its community-wide survey instrument during its meeting Thursday.

Members of the commission made a few wording changes in the draft supplied by John Riggs, the city’s planning and zoning consultant.

The four- to five-page survey will cover a variety of issues, ranging from residents’ evaluation of city services to their perception of the local economy, housing, health care, retail options and recreation.

The commission hopes to use the responses as a basis for future planning.

Members also discussed the most effective way to distribute and collect the survey in order to get the best possible return.

One option the commission is considering is recruiting individuals or organizations to go door-to-door.

Riggs said such a method has been successful in many communities, but respondents sometimes fear confidentiality could be compromised.

The survey will likely be distributed in late September after the annual Arts & Crafts Fair.

The commission’s other primary agenda was to further consider changes to the city’s approach to manufactured housing.

Steven Garrett, city administrator, said he wanted to be clear on the commission’s intent with any new or revised policy.

“My understanding is that we want to limit the kind of manufactured housing that can go into moderate residential neighborhoods,” he said.

Riggs responded, “I think you want to permit it, but be careful where it goes so it doesn’t intrude into better neighborhoods.”

Riggs distributed copies of three policy approaches that cities have used to address the issue, including the option of having an entire subdivision designated for manufactured housing.

He said the one that seemed to best meet the wishes expressed by the commission was to create an overlay zone in which appropriate manufactured housing would be allowed in some areas.

“That works well with neighborhood renovation,” he said, where residents can’t afford to fix up a deteriorating house but could afford to tear it down and bring in a manufactured home.

He said the city should always reserve the right to inspect any building that is moved into its jurisdiction, however.

He also suggested that the city review its definitions regarding manufactured housing because terms and qualifications have changed over the years.

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