Aerts Addition, Banks, News

City council examines development agreement for 955 home development in Banks

During a February 13 city council meeting, the elected city officials of Banks met to conduct the regular business before the city, and to conduct a public hearing to consider the approval of a developer agreement between Banks and Holt Homes, who hope to build a housing development of up to 955 homes on what’s now the Quail Valley Golf Course and adjacent property.

During a brief work session held before the regular business meeting, councilors talked about an Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission application from the new owners at the Banks Shell gas station, which wants to begin selling bottled alcohol in the small convenience store at the north end of the town.

Councilors also heard a presentation from the “Rural Ramblers,” a group of fitness enthusiasts convened originally as part of a study from Oregon Health & Science University. The group, spearheaded by Susan Cackler, who also works for the city at the Banks Public Library, is hoping to build a parcourse specifically designed for seniors to use at Greenville City Park with funds by way of a grant from OHSU and verbal agreements from a variety of other area groups and nonprofits who hope to fund the project. From the city, no funds are needed, just approval to install the outdoor fitness equipment.

A final location has yet to be chosen at Greenville City Park.

And that was it for the work session, which closed at 6:52 p.m.

Hear the entire work session below.

City council meeting begins

After the usual formalities, where councilors stood and pledged their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, roll was taken, with City Councilor Marilyn McCalister excused for the evening, Banks Mayor Stephanie Jones said, who gave no reason for the absence.

After “National Fix a Leak Week” got a shoutout (the city actually had to fix a major water leak last month during the ice and snow storm, and later you’ll read about a hit and run that took out a fire hydrant on Main Street), the council moved onto regular reports from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and various city departments, which can be found online at

During the sheriff’s report covering calls from January, delivered by Deputy Frank Ward, it was noted that several vehicles were towed, including a vehicle that had blocked City Manager Jolynn Becker’s vehicle (and thus, Becker herself) at city hall for several hours.

A hit and run on Main Street saw a white Ford F-150 run over a fire hydrant and the case went unsolved. In a separate part of the report, at least three incidents (traffic and Banks Billiards-related) were tied to the same Corvette in Banks as well, and the driver was described as “a bit of a problem child” (and a grandfather of children in the Banks School District) for the sheriff’s office by Ward.

Read the entire police log, and see photos and hear the audio from this meeting here.

Audio, visuals and text. We’re a 21st century newspaper.

The police report was followed by a written report from Banks Public Library Director Denise Holmes, and then a public works report also submitted in writing, and addended verbally by city manager Jolynn Becker with further details about the water leak experienced in January.

Assistant City Manager and City Recorder Angie Lanter said the city has received more than $10,000 in donations from local businesses to purchase fireworks for the city’s annual Independence Day fireworks display, which is matched by Sunset Speedway to the tune of $10,000.

At the suggestion of city councilor Marsha Kirk, staff urged people in attendance to take a look at the numerous volunteer opportunities available on the city’s various boards and commissions.

Moving on, the consent agenda—a batch of items considered routine—were unanimously adopted, and the council moved onto the meat of the business agenda: two public hearings; the first a continuation from an October public hearing on the city’s system development charges (SDC) and the second, a public hearing on the adoption of a developer agreement between the city and Holt Homes.

Explaining the concept of an SDC, “these are charges that builders pay when they pull building permits for a house or a commercial building,” City Attorney Dan Kearns said.

Aerts Addition

And then, the star topic of the night: a public hearing to consider a draft development agreement of a 206 acre potential development on the east side of the city.

Listen to the audio of this portion of the meeting below. It’s more than an hour long, and includes a presentation from Holt Homes, which be viewed as a .pdf here.

“One thing that is new,” said Mayor Stephanie Jones, “is that we will not be rendering a decision tonight on this,” who noted that after the public testimony, the record would be left open for additional public comment and continued during the March city council meeting, when council members would cast their votes on the draft agreement. The original agenda for the meeting had noted that a decision would be rendered Tuesday night on the developer agreement.

The agreement between Holt and the city does not mean a development has the go-ahead. In a three-page FAQ published on the city’s website (.pdf), the city outlined their understanding of the process once a developer agreement is approved.

“We anticipate Holt will submit a land use and development application that will include a comprehensive plan amendment and zone change request for the golf course, a multi-phase masterplan subdivision and other associated applications sometime before summer. The City will process this consolidated application in accordance with state law requirements and the City’s development code. The process will begin with community informational meetings hosted by the developer to explain the project plans. Then, there will be a series of public hearings before the Planning Commission and progress to even more public hearings before the City Council,” the city said.

After asking councilors if there were any conflicts of interest—none serious were raised—City Attorney Dan Kearns detailed several parts of the agreement that were still under discussion.

Because the new development, if approved, will add to infrastructure that the city will need to maintain, the development, Kearns said, would need to meet specific city standards surrounding water and other utility and infrastructure needs.

The developers, for example, will need to design wells to the city’s standards to ensure that the new homes have enough water and that the rest of the water infrastructure is following certain dates and deadlines.

Kearns also noted specifications the city could ask of developers surrounding the creation of a new city park, which could include a pickleball court.

A back and forth discussion on specific items within the agreement was held.

Following the discussion, employees of Holt Homes, including Rian Tuttle, President and Chief Operating Officer, gave a presentation regarding the development, which they are calling “Aerts Addition.”

Several people gave public comment regarding the developer agreement.

One raised concerns about lengthy construction on Highway 6, changes to the character of the city of Banks, and other concerns.

Another person who lives just outside city limits near the Banks-Vernonia State Trail trailhead, raised concerns about the impact to her property value, among other concerns. She raised her concerns that Banks’ “small town” feel could be lost with the addition of new homes in Banks.

A third person also raised concerns about the character of Banks being changed by a new development, while acknowledging he himself lived in the Arbor Village development, which nearly tripled the size of Banks over the course of its construction starting in 1999.

Another audience member asked about impacts to pedestrian traffic and the use of the railroad and emergency vehicle access to a new development.

After noting that the public hearing would remain open for comment and be decided in March, Jones moved on to the rest of the meeting’s agenda, which included a staff report from City Planner Lauren Scott, and then adopted SDC rates, and then approved a move to allow a property on the west side of Banks that was annexed into city limits about a decade ago to also be annexed into Clean Water Services service territory.

City Attorney Dan Kearns described the request from Clean Water Services as “weird,” but urged the city to adopt it so that the city would not be responsible for any services Clean Water Service would normally provide. The city does not have their own sewer system, instead relying on Clean Water Services for that.

It was unanimously adopted.

The business agenda ended with the city council approving a letter of support to urge the state legislature to fully fund the Washington County Justice System.

After that, a roundtable discussion was held, where councilors quickly noted the various topics they are hearing from the various boards and committees they sit on or are liaised to.

Find audio, documents, agendas and more about this meeting on the city calendar listing for February 13 at

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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