|PUBLIC HEARING: Comprehensive Plan Updates Ordinance
The comprehensive plan is the long-range guiding document of the City and is fully updated every five to eight years in cooperation with other local jurisdictions and Whatcom County. In the intervening years the City or private applicants may propose amendments no more than once per year unless an emergency situation exists.
There are two types of amendments: to the text and to the Land Use Map. In the proposed ordinance, all changes are primarily map amendments. The FEMA Floodway Modification amendment requires a minor change to the existing text, as a result of the map change.
The three proposed modifications are:
1. Removal, modification, or renaming of the floodway land use designation. With this modification, properties currently subject to the designation would instead be designated based on the adjacent land use designations, and the properties would also be rezoned to the adjacent zoning designation.
2. Comprehensive plan land use map change: South Portal. The recommendation is to change the land use designation in this area from Commercial to Medium or High Density Residential. In recent years there has been a significant shift in ownership in the area and some of the long-term uses have ceased or may soon cease. The existing Commercial land use designation anticipates a variety of uses for an area that does not appear to be conducive to those uses.
3. Comprehensive Land Use Change: Donna Lane/Thornton Street. This amendment would change the land use designation of two properties in the vicinity of Thornton Street. The southern property would change from Commercial to Low Density Residential, consistent with adjacent residential properties to the west. The amendment would also make the northern property entirely commercial.
Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the removal of the floodway designation and the South Portal land use map change. (Items #1 & 2) MOTION CARRIED 6-1, Councilmember Olson opposed.
Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the comprehensive land use change for the southern property in the vicinity of Thornton Street from Commercial to Low Density Residential. (Item #3) MOTION CARRIED 6-1, Councilmember Olson opposed.
Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to direct staff to draft a development agreement requiring a residential buffer on the western and southern boundaries of the northern property, with homes no taller than 35 feet. The land use change to Commercial is pending the approval of the development agreement. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.