The City of Lincoln City is holding two public forums to discuss the proposed urban renewal boundary and a list of potential capital projects to be completed at the Villages at Cascade Head, a 360+ acre parcel of land in north Lincoln City purchased by the City in 2013.
The first of two public forums is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Ace’s Bar and Grill, 3309 NE Clubhouse Dr. The second will be held 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Highway 101.
“The upcoming public forum is one step in creating the draft plan which we hope will be ready for Council consideration in July or August this year,” Urban Renewal Economic Development Coordinator Jodi Mescher said. “If City Council votes to adopt the Urban Renewal Plan for Roads End/Villages at Cascade Head area, it could be an important economic development tool to increase financing for priority projects in the new urban renewal area.”
If the Urban Renewal Plan is adopted by the Lincoln City Council, the Urban Renewal Agency can go ahead with capital projects, such as:
- Construction or improvement of public facilities including streets, sidewalks, utilities, parks
- Streetscape improvements
- Storefront improvements
- Participation with developers for property improvement
- Rehabilitation of existing buildings
City staff has identified a list of potential projects to be completed and the first public forum is to discuss the draft plan and collect feedback on priority projects and projects yet to be identified.
The Villages at Cascade Head, previously a bankrupt vacant development, was purchased in 2013 by Lincoln City for $2.5 million.
For over 20 years the vision for 1,800+ homes at the Villages at Cascade Head has been troubled by foreclosure, developer concerns and expiring city planning approvals.
City officials have long-held to the idea that the Villages at Cascade Head will be an economic boon to Lincoln City but have struggled to advance the multi-million dollar investment despite spending an additional $2 million into the site for planning, utilities and other costs typically paid for by developers.
According to sources, developers have put in over $10 million to develop the Villages.
Developers are skeptical on a city-controlled situation where the City can drop hundreds of lots at any given time with a vote from the council. Builders believe they could not compete and the unknowns are too much to risk large amounts of money.
“If the City can sell lots at will or rezone adjacent properties it reduces the value and makes it unattractive,” a prominent Lincoln City developer who requested anonymity said.
Former Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams, who won in a 2014 landslide election, called for a sale of the Villages as part of his campaign.
“I don’t believe the City should be in the land development business,” Williams said. “We were assured repeatedly that we weren’t going to do this, but here we are in the land development business.”
Whatever the City decides to do, it will impact property values for improved and unimproved property throughout Lincoln City and North Lincoln County.