Thirty-one acres of property now occupied by the Sisters Ranger District administrative site could be converted into residential use if the planning commission approves a zone change. graphic provided
Thirty-one acres of property now occupied by the Sisters Ranger District administrative site could be converted into residential use if the planning commission approves a zone change. graphic provided
The first major steps in a development that could bring 250 to 300 new homes to Sisters in the next couple of years may be taken Thursday, September 10.

The Sisters Planning Commission will hear a request from the owners of a large portion of the Forest Service property along Pine Street to change the zoning on the property to allow for residential development.

The applicant is requesting approval of a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment to re-designate the property and a zone change from Public Facilities, Urban Area Reserve, and Open Space to Multi-Family Residential, North Sisters Business Park, Open Space and Downtown Commercial.

The special meeting will be held September 10, at 5:30 p.m., in the Sisters City Council Chambers and can be accessed by the public through Zoom (links available at https://www.ci.sisters.or.us/bc-pc/page/planning-commission-special-meeting). Written public comment can be submitted for the record to nmardell@ci.sisters.or.us or dropped in the utility mail drop by 4 p.m. on Thursday, September?10.

Sisters planning staff has recommended approval of the request, with conditions. The staff report may be accessed at the link above.

Kevin Eckert of Build LLC is designing the development of 31 acres of land along Pine Street and Highway 20 for Paul Hodge and Paul and Carla Schneider of Sisters, who purchased the property that was formerly part of the U.S. Forest Service administrative site.

Eckert told The Nugget last June that, “they just saw an opportunity for positive growth.”

Hodge, who is CEO of Laird Superfood, has long been an advocate for workforce housing that will allow people who work for a paycheck in Sisters to live in Sisters.

Eckert said that the Sisters Woodlands development, bounded by Pine Street, West Barclay Drive, and Highway 20 (see map) will feature “cottage development” of approximately 1,500 square feet each utilizing shared open space, townhomes and home-over-garage units, and apartment or condominium-style units along Highway?20 with a significant setback from the road.

Eckert said that the cottage development plan will allow the preservation of somewhere around 200 trees.

Eckert told The Nugget that he’s been traveling in the West this summer and seen the pressures placed on small towns by people seeking a change in lifestyle.

“We need it more than ever,” Eckert said. “We need to rally as a town to keep Sisters affordable.”

The fastest possible timeline to put shovels in the ground on the development is late summer 2021.

The Forest Service Sisters Ranger District Headquarters will remain where it is now located, but new facilities will be built. According to Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid, that project, too, will begin at the earliest in 2021.