News

Planners ponder changes in city

By JENNY MANNING

Staff reporter

The Planning Commission will consider three potential amendments to the Oak Harbor Comprehensive Plan during a 7:30 p.m. public meeting Tuesday, Oct. 28, at City Hall.

On the docket are five adjacent Goldie Road properties owned by Sean Byrne. Byrne, a local real estate developer, is requesting that the adjacent properties, which total 16 acres, be re-designated from PIP, or Planned Industrial Park, to C3, or Community Commercial.

The current designation allows the land to be developed into a larger-scale business park-like complex or into manufacturing facilities.

Byrne would like to change the designation to Community Commercial, which would allow for wholesale retail-type businesses. These designations require large areas of land and access from major streets.

In his application to the city, Byrne said the property is a good spot for the next “Big Box” store; his rationale being that islanders, like his wife, drive off island for some of their shopping.

“I am sure there are other spouses whom have to make the trip as well and whom will also realize the benefit,” he wrote of changing the parcels’ designation to Community Commercial.

Steve Powers, the city’s Development Services director, said the community expressed interest in the project at a neighborhood meeting.

“There are some concerns,” he said of several residents living in a nearby mobile home park.

The second amendment to be addressed is that of a 40,000 square foot lot located at 33170 Highway 20. Currently designated RO, Residential Office, the applicant is requesting the designation be changed to C3, or Community Commercial, allowing for the addition of retail, wholesale and other services on the property.

“The current zoning of Residential Office was established about 30 years ago,” wrote David and Patricia Cohick in their application. “It is probably the best economic and most compatible and reasonable use for the subject property would be a commercial use after combining it with the two adjoining properties to the south.”

They also said the property would better fit the Comprehensive Plan criteria for community Commercial designation because it is “a large site with access from either major or minor arterials.”

Powers said questions were raised during a neighborhood meeting for this project, but that they have been addressed.

“I think those community questions have been answered,” he said.

Also up for public comment is a 12,590 square foot lot at 164 Ernst Drive. The lot is currently designated for R1, or Single-Family Residential, meaning that no more than six single-family homes may occupy each acre. This designation is for low density, urban residential use.

The applicant, Anita Anderson-Johnson is asking the city to change the property’s designation to RO, or Residential/Office.

This change would allow for the construction of professional or administrative offices or conversion of single-family homes into office space so as to blend in to the surrounding neighborhood.

Fakkema and Kingma, Inc. submitted the application on behalf of Anderson Johnson. In the cover letter, they stateed that the request is “to support the construction of an office and associated infrastructure on the site.”

This site did not draw any public interest or input, said Powers.

These requested land use amendments were posted to the city of Oak Harbor blog on June 25 and written notice was sent to all residents living within 300 feet of these properties during the first week in July alerting them of the possible amendments to the comprehensive plan.

In addition, yellow signs were posted on each property to give notice of the possible redesignation and a notice was printed in the Whidbey News-Times.

Additional amendments to be considered Tuesday include updates to the 2008-2013 Capital Improvements Plan. The information is intended to reflect the projected revenues and expenditures for capitol projects in Oak Harbor over the next six years. The Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan will also be discussed.

The Planning Commission, a seven-member citizen advisory group, will either make a recommendation to the council, or will request additional information from city staff as a result of Tuesday night’s public comment meeting.

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