Multi-unitmoratorium extended

Published on Thu, Jan 26, 2006
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Multi-unit moratorium extended

A moratorium on multi-family homes in central Blaine has been extended for the third time, drawing the ban out to two years.
Blaine community development director Terry Galvin said a consultant had been hired to help with the city’s comprehensive plan review. “We’re making good progress.”

Council members gave unanimous approval to the new extension, acknowledging the planning department had been plagued by illness and staffing problems that prevented the timely completion of comprehensive plan and zoning updates that will spell the end of the moratorium.

Newly elected council member Jason Overstreet was the only one to take staff to task for not getting property owners in the area out of limbo in a more timely fashion. “There are people here who for 18 or 24 months will be handcuffed when it comes to what they can do with their property,” he said. “I would have preferred as soon as the moratorium was enacted to take care of these areas,” even if zoning changes had to be made outside the comprehensive process.

The moratorium was first put in place in August 2004 in response to overwhelming public concern about large multi-family projects moving into traditionally single family central Blaine neighborhoods. It was extended again in February 2004 and July 2005, with staff asking for more time to complete the comprehensive plan and zoning review of these areas. At the July 25 meeting in which the moratorium received its second extension council members expressed frustration with the pace of the update.

Property owners in the area who had previously complained the moratorium was putting their plans on hold were mostly absent at the January 23 public hearing. Jason Burke had opposed extending the moratorium six months ago as it was putting his plan for a six-condo project in limbo. Now he said he just wanted to see a resolution. “I can’t honestly say I’m opposed because we’ve come so far,” he said. “I want to see it ended. We can’t go to round four and five. I hope this is the last time.”

Five other speakers all supported the moratorium and hoped when it was lifted their neighborhoods had new single-family zoning. Kathleen Capson of the Blaine Neighborhood Association said a recent survey found most residents wanted their neighborhoods to be single-family.