Wilsonville’s Old Town area was Wilsonville’s “main street” prior to the 1950s. Some of the residents live in older buildings that once housed the earlier business of Wilsonville, such as the former Aden General Store and a former bank that was the scene of a famous robbery. The neighborhood has remained for the most part unchanged through the years.
The West Side Master Plan, completed in 1996, recommended amending zoning to include standards for a pedestrian friendly, mixed use Boones Ferry commercial and residential district. It also recommended amending the Zoning Ordinance to create a special Boones Ferry District with architectural standards and redevelopment featuring building styles from the period between 1840 and 1940. The Zoning Code was amended in 2000 to add the Old Town Overlay Zone.
The Overlay Zone “is intended to create a modern interpretation of a traditional old town Main Street and mixed-use neighborhood”. It applies to construction of new buildings, substantial redevelopment of existing buildings, and exterior remodeling of existing buildings on building elevations that face public streets. The design standards are intended to emulate the older building styles.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2000, adopted Metro’s land use designation categories and establishes land use types and densities for development of the City for a 20 year period. In Old Town , a residential density of 6 – 7 dwelling units /net acre was adopted, except for the Boones Ferry Village which is designated 16 – 20 dwellings units /net acre.
In 2006, a higher density housing development was proposed in Old Town. Area residents felt that this proposed development did not meet the character of Old Town; what it is and how it should be preserved during new development, and petitioned the City Council to establish a process to better define development criteria in the Old Town Area.
The City Council asked City Staff to work with the Old Town residents to draft a neighborhood plan. After lengthy delays due to City Staff retirements and a new project manager, a final draft of the Plan was presented to Old Town residents in December 2010 and to the Planning Commission January 2011.
On September 19, 2011, City Council adopted Resolution No. 2324 which accepted the Old Town Neighborhood Plan with the Architectural Pattern Book and provided guidance to Staff for implementation.