Land-use plan addresses development struggles

Published 1:25 pm Monday, July 16, 2007

By Staff
Outlines strategies to better harmonize growth in Washington
Contributing Editor
Washington’s revised land-use plan, which will be submitted for state approval in September, includes information about the city that some people may find interesting.
One of those interesting things may be residential land use.
The draft land-use plan includes the following partial explanations for those figures:
Another factor influencing residential land use in the city is an increasing vacancy rate in Washington, especially in specific older neighborhoods with high redevelopment costs and low, current demand, the draft reports. Another contributing factor influencing residential land use in the city is the declining number of people per household in the city (currently 2.3 people), the draft notes. That figure is well below state and national averages for the number of person per household.
Those factors contribute to increasing housing demand despite modest population growth, the draft concludes.
The draft also points out that because the city is a regional center for retail/commercial and office/institutional uses, conflicts between commercial development and adjacent noncommercial development have occurred as commercial development has encroached on residential or industrial areas.
The draft also states that clustering development in relatively concentrated areas near major intersections and existing public infrastructure and services has several advantages over the linear type of development found throughout the city.
It’s in those areas where conflicts between commercial development and adjacent noncommercial development have occurred most frequently, the draft notes.
The draft lists the following advantages that clustering has over linear development:
The draft recommends the city — if it desires to maintain its place as a regional hub of retail, other commercial uses, office and professional activities — focus its commercial land uses in nodes based on three broad categories. Those categories are regional commercial nodes, neighborhood commercial nodes and office and institutional nodes.
The purpose and intent of the regional commercial node “is to provide for those retail and wholesale sales and services necessary to meet the needs of several communities, as well as intrastate or interstate visitors and commerce, and to allow a moderate amount of processing products,” reads the draft.
Such nodes would cluster in depth at intersections of federal, state or county arterial or collector roads. The draft commercial nodes exist or will exist at the following locations.
Why a land-use plan?
Land-use plans are used to help guide growth. They help local governments determine where growth should occur, decide what types of growth are appropriate for specific areas and provide strategies and policies that address the following management topics: public access, land-use compatibility, infrastructure carrying capacity, natural hazard areas, water quality and local areas of concern.
Washington residents, property owners and others will have an opportunity to address the draft’s findings and recommendations as well as their own concerns about land-use issues at a public hearing on the revised land-use plan. That hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
If approved by the council on that date, the plan will be sent to the Coastal Resources Commission for its approval. The commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 27-28 to consider the plan and other commission business.
The draft plan calls for a sea change when it comes to mooring fields. The draft supports placing mooring fields in some of the city’s waterways. The existing land-use plan, required by the Coastal Area Management Act, does not support doing that.
The updated plan also reflects an increasing development demand on the city’s land, especially its waterfront areas, and addresses how that development should be handled, city officials said.
The revised plan includes the following elements:
The purposes and intents of the three categories of nodes and other components of the draft land-use plan will be discussed in future editions of the Daily News.