Council OKs 134-unit Albert Avenue project

Published on Wed, May 26, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Blaine residents can expect a new 134-unit mixed-use development off Peace Portal Drive near Nicki’s Diner after city council gave its approval earlier this month.

Albert Avenue development will include 92 multi-family units and 42 assisted living units, 3,700-square feet of retail space and a 1,600-square foot community building.

Neil Latta, an engineer with Web Engineering, the company who designed the project, said residents can expect a “neo-traditional design” with pedestrian walkways, retail shops and home prices aimed at median-income families.
“They’re trying to gear things below $200,000 but with a higher level of finish than your traditional affordable housing units, which are more basic,” Latta said.

Council voted 5-1 to approve the project with Charlie Hawkins voting no, “not because of the development itself, but because of the water and sewer fees the city will forgo by approving it.” Hawkins said he was concerned about current residents having to shoulder the costs of connection fees for water and sewer, which would amount to roughly $5,000 per unit.

He added that the scheduled sewer rate increases during the next few years were based on projected revenue from new development. Blaine residents currently pay about $80 per unit but that amount will increase by 11 percent, or about $89, by 2011.

“As a long time resident, I really resent the idea that we’re subsidizing these developers coming in expecting us to subsidize their business,” he said. “Anyone who’s lived here awhile knows that development doesn’t pay for itself.”
Latta said they are hoping to break ground this summer, although their schedule is subject to “market conditions.”