Planning commission considers update to Central Business District design standards

An aerial view of the Central Business District. Photo courtesy of the city of Blaine

Public hearing extended to Thursday, April 12 at city hall

By Stefanie Donahue

The Blaine planning department are updating Central Business District (CBD) design
standards.

The district encompasses the downtown core, surrounding residential areas and the harbor, and has been the subject of an ongoing evaluation by the city since 2014.

City staff are recommending that the Blaine Planning Commission consider a zoning text amendment to building and site design regulations within the CBD.

During the commission’s regular meeting March 22, commissioners reviewed the proposed amendment and queried community development director Michael Jones, building official Tim Woodard and architect Bob Bengford on the amendment.

Instead of voting that evening, commissioners decided to extend the public hearing to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at Blaine City Hall.

“This will allow ample time for people to evaluate the proposal and provide comments to the commission,” read a staff report. “During this time, staff will present the information to the Blaine Downtown Alliance and the Blaine Economic Development Advisory Committee.”

Passage of the amendment is ultimately contingent on city council, which will receive a recommendation from the Blaine Planning Commission to either deny, approve or modify the original proposal.

According to a staff report, the proposed amendment contains four main components:

– Make building and site design regulations more clear and specific. The changes would provide property owners with clear direction, while giving them the option to vary from city standards.

– Remove the requirement for owners of property west of Peace Portal Drive to construct a portion of a proposed boardwalk when they develop their site (the downtown boardwalk would run along the west side of properties located between H and G Street). Instead, the city would obtain easements from the property owners to facilitate the boardwalk development as a public project.

– Adopt street frontage design requirements that impose stricter restrictions for storefronts located at Peace Portal Drive and H Street and greater flexibility on some outlying streets.

– Consider replacing design guidelines for the Wharf District, which were approved prior to the Wharf District Master Plan, and for the southern entrance to Blaine off Peace Portal Drive.

To learn more about the proposed amendment, visit bit.ly/2GwHXj2.

 

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