The Hermiston City Council paved the way on Monday for a new 54-lot subdivision.

The council approved annexation of 11 acres on the northwest corner of West Theater Lane and Northwest Geer Road, across from Kopacz Nursery. Monte Vista Homes plans to build 53 single-family houses and one multi-family project on the property, with a price point of about $220,000 for the new homes.

Steve Wilson, vice president for Monte Vista Homes, said the new Theater Park subdivision could offer the “family wage price point” thanks to adjustments the city made in the last couple of years to reduce lot size minimums and setback requirements.

“The ability to build homes on smaller lots brings the cost of homes down,” he said.

The city’s planning commission approved a preliminary plat for the project and recommended the annexation to the city earlier this month.

During Monday’s meeting councilors brought up the property’s R-4 zoning and pointed out that if they annexed it, the developer could change their mind and build 11 acres worth of apartments instead. City planner Clint Spencer acknowledged that was a possibility.

Mayor David Drotzmann said he would be more concerned about that if “this company didn’t have a great track record in Hermiston.” The company has completed multiple projects in Hermiston, including Highland Summit, and is just finishing the last few homes in the Desert Shadows subdivision along Northwest Overlook Drive.

Drotzmann said bringing new housing into Hermiston is the city’s number one priority.

“I’m excited to see the city’s conversations about how to fix the housing problem start to bear fruit,” he said.

A memo to the planning commission by Spencer noted the subdivision at full build-out should bring in about $91,000 per year in property tax to the city.

News Editor

Hermiston Herald news editor and reporter covering city government and economic development in Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo.

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