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Developer forges ahead with plans

The race is on.

Now that members of the Oak Harbor City Council decided against a moratorium, a Bellevue developer is moving ahead with plans to build a large shopping pavilion in the northernmost part of the city.

“We’ve moving very aggressively forward with this,” Nat Franklin of PMF Investments said Thursday.

Franklin said he will submit a pre-application for the 165,000-square-foot development to the city next week. He hopes to make final application by the end of the month.

At the same time, city planners are looking at potential changes in development regulations as a result of a new map from the Navy that changes “accident potential zones.” The land Franklin plans to build on, currently owned by Don Boyer, falls under two different accident zones.

The question is whether new development regulations will be adopted in time to affect Franklin’s development plans.

At a council meeting Tuesday, Island County Commissioner Mac McDowell explained that a development becomes “vested” once final application is made. He said any new regulation changes don’t apply retroactively once a project has been vested.

City Development Director Steve Powers said the period of time between pre-application to final application varies depending on the project. He said the department’s goal is two weeks, but currently it’s running about three weeks because of the number of ongoing projects.

Powers said he didn’t know how long it would take for city staff to analyze the new map and other information from the Navy and create recommended changes to development regulations. Any changes would have to go through the planning commission and then the City Council.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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