Thursday, January 21, 2016

Data center may be in the offing for land near Prineville Airport (S39), Crook County, Oregon

A Chicago firm asking Prineville to annex 160 acres the firm owns in Crook County may be planning for a data center on the property.

Legacy Ranches LLC purchased 1,424 acres adjacent the Prineville Airport, just outside the city urban growth boundary, in January 2015. The firm in November applied to bring a portion in the heart of that property into the city and have it rezoned from agricultural to industrial use.

The Crook County Planning Commission was scheduled to meet Wednesday for a third time on the application, this time to hear options for access to the property. The Prineville Planning Commission on Jan. 5 recommended the City Council approve annexation of the property.

The City Council and Crook County Court are expected to consider the application in February, said Bill Zelenka, the county community development director, on Tuesday.

A representative of Legacy Ranches, Chad Feigel, of Chicago, declined to comment Wednesday on plans for the 160 acres. No development plans are on file with either the city or county, according to planning staff reports.

The same company also purchased the former Remington Ranch, a 2,000-acre resort project near Powell Butte that went bankrupt in 2010, for $2.5 million, Crook County records show. Columbia Bank sold the property, once listed for sale at $8 million, in December to Legacy Ranches, according to county records.

Legacy Ranches LLC shares an address with CMT Trading LLC, a brokerage firm. CMT Trading also shares an address and contracts with xCelor LLC, a technology firm that specializes in high-speed data processing for financial traders, according to a December 2014 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Local representatives of Legacy Ranches indirectly referred to the site as a potential data center location while addressing the county planning commission Jan. 13.

“These projects, as you know, having dealt with two of them, relative to data centers, are very time sensitive,” said Craig Kilpatrick. “They’re easy to stop by getting caught up with the wrong information at the wrong time.”

Kilpatrick could not be reached Wednesday for further comment. City and county staffers identify the site as ideal for a data center in reports prepared for their respective planning commissions. Apple and Facebook both operate data centers in the airport industrial park.

However, the question of access to the property remained unresolved when the county planning commission met Jan. 13. The Oregon Department of Transportation had concerns that the sole access to the property, an existing driveway, would not safely accommodate more traffic if the site becomes an industrial zone, a county staff member told the commission. The property is now zoned for farm use.

Legacy Ranches proposed two alternatives: a road across adjacent Legacy Ranches property that connects to Houston Lake Road to the north, and the second, a shorter route, an extension of Airport Road from the south.

Wendie Kellington, a Lake Oswego attorney representing Legacy Ranches, told the county planning commission Jan. 13 that it could recommend the zone change and urban growth boundary expansion without identifying a specific route to the property. Either route is possible although both require approval from state or federal agencies, she said.

Kellington also referred indirectly to the site as a potential data center. A traffic analysis prepared for the application estimated 132 trips per day at the site, but Kellington said that study assumed a use other than a data center.

Referring to the expected volume of traffic, she said: “We all know what we think is going to happen, some of us think more certainly than others about what’s going to happen, being a data center, but we had to do a reasonable worst-case analysis.”

Kellington could not be reached for comment Wednesday. At the Jan. 13 hearing, she asked the commission to recommend the county court approve the application.

“You’ve been through these before; they’re time-sensitive,” Kellington told the commission. “Another delay would be pretty devastating to the project.”

Read the planning reports

Prineville City Planning and Community Development Department:

Crook County Planning Commission:


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