City approves airport rezone 4-0
By Tara Nelson
The city of Blaine is one step closer to seeing its municipal airport redeveloped with a potential mix of commercial and industrial uses.
In a 4-0 vote Monday, Blaine City Council voted to approve a resolution that would rezone 34 acres of prime industrial land currently occupied by the city’s airport into a “gateway” district aimed to take advantage of cross-border traffic.
Council member Charlie Hawkins abstained from the vote and council member Scott Dodd was excused.
Council members revisited issues involving pedestrian safety hazards at the intersection of Boblett Street although they had little to say. Some such as Jason Overstreet, carried on lengthy debate with city planners in regards to landscaping requirements for businesses.
Overstreet said he thought a requirement for businesses to plant sidewalk trees every 30 feet would restrict visibility and should be removed.
Blaine resident Dennis Olason said that he thought a pedestrian overpass at Boblett Street and SR 543 should be built and that the city should look into the possibility of a regional stormwater system for that area.
Blaine airport commission chair Doug Fenton was the only speaker to oppose the plan, not because of the proposal itself, but because of the timing. One solution, he said was to delay the closure to allow some of the leases to expire.
“At least half of the cost of closing the airport is going to go to Don Nelson to pay to terminate his leases, which will expire in 5 years,” he said.
Fenton said the estimated cost to close the airport is between $1 and $4 million, but he thinks the actual cost will be on the high side, “next to $4 million, rather than $1 million” and that if the land is sold for the amount it costs to close then the city just dumped 40 acres of prime industrial land in the middle of the city for nothing.