La Grande City Council adopts parks department master plan, updated historic district standards

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Jul. 8—LA GRANDE — The La Grande City Council voted to adopt the Parks and Recreation Department's master plan and update the historical building standards on Wednesday, July 6.

The comprehensive master plan for Parks and Recreation will replace the existing document, which only extended through 2017. Councilor David Glabe brought forward the motion to adopt the master plan following grammatical changes to the document, which was seconded by Councilor Justin Rock. Mayor Stephen Clements and all present council members — Gary Lillard, John Bozarth, Glabe, Mary Ann Miesner and Rock — voted in favor of adopting the plan. Councilor Nicole Howard was absent from the meeting.

The new plan will go into effect following a 30-day appeal period.

Mike Boquist, community development director, will submit an application to Union County for co-adoption, so that the new plan will also apply within the La Grande urban growth boundary. This is necessary because the plan includes work on areas, such as Riverside Park, which are outside the city limits.

The document also includes updates for Morgan Lake, which is outside both the city limits and the urban growth boundary. Boquist said that having the lake within the master plan helps the parks department when applying for funding.

The city council also voted to adopt the updated language for the downtown historic district standards. The goal was to make the document more user friendly by removing ambiguous wording.

The majority of the council approved of the changes, but Councilor Gary Lillard was not happy with the updates. He believed the language was still too vague and subjective to be helpful. Boquist said the flexible language was intentional to ensure that the standards could be used and applied to all the varied building types in the downtown area.

"I think we need that flexibility. If you go to the strict standards, it hurts our downtown more than it helps," Councilor John Bozarth said.

Rock motioned to adopt the resolution, which was seconded by Bozarth. Clements, Bozarth, Glade, Miesner and Rock voted in favor of the adoption, while Lillard voted against the resolution.