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Zoning code wraps up Wednesday

January 28th, 2013 at Mon, 28th, 2013 at 9:40 am by Richard D. Oxley

POULSBO — If you were wondering about changes to the city’s Zoning Code Ordinance, but haven’t made it to a council meeting, the city now has a workshop summery on the website.

After several council workshops since September, following three years of research and revision by planning staff and the Planning Commission, the proposed zoning code is nearing the end of its review.

The council delved into five topics during their last two workshops, Jan. 9 and 16: off-street parking, street signage, tree retention, temporary transitory accommodations and wireless communication.

If development is proposed in the city’s commercial zone — new construction, an additional 1,501 square feet to an existing building, or adding a residential unit to an existing building — new parking spots will be required.

Some council members were concerned about inhibiting new development in the downtown core, where space is already limited, and the council discussed allowing a fee in lieu of additional parking. However, Planning Director Barry Berezowski pointed out that a consolidate structure would move parking from downtown’s most valuable land.

Under signage, the council discussed regulating sandwich board signs. The code proposes allowing two signs per business. Councilman David Musgrove suggested finding out how many sandwich board signs are currently around town and where are they, so the code can regulate “sign pollution.”

Significant tree retention was an important subject to the council, but the proposed code puts more responsibility of tree retention in developer’s hands. The proposed rule states developers must retain clusters of exiting trees for new construction in all zones, but especially in the area east of 10th Avenue, between Lincoln Road and Forest Rock Lane — instead of clear-cutting, and then planting new trees, developers must keep clusters of trees and build around them.

The city does not regulate current tree retention on private property, unless the trees are in a critical area. Mayor Becky Erickson said trees act as a primary source for stormwater management and can prevent low-land flooding.

The updated code must reflect a new state law that allows religious organizations to offer temporary transient accommodations — sometimes called tent cities — to the homeless. Erickson said she does not support tent cities, because “It is not the proper way to deal with homelessness.” The temporary transitory accommodations are allowed under a 180-day permit, and the city can only regulate them for public health and safety.

The council also addressed wireless communications, which directly affects the Kitsap Public Utility District’s pilot project of providing wireless internet to the public at no charge. The zoning code gives location priorities for where antennae and equipment: first on an existing KPUD facility, second on existing power structures (power poles), third in commercial districts, and fourth in residential districts, when there is a significant gap in service or coverage.

To see the changes of the proposed zoning code update, read the Workshop Response and Recommendations Document, found at www.cityofpoulsbo.com/planning/planning_codeam_2010.htm. The entire draft Code Enforcement Ordinance can also be found at the website, under City Council Review and named September 2012 Planning Commission Recommended Draft Zoning Ordinance.

The council will hold the first of its wrap-up workshops Jan. 30 and will continue to Feb. 6 if needed. The public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27. All meetings are in Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 NE Moe St., at 7 p.m.

 

 

Richard D. Oxley covers the Poulsbo and North Kitsap beat for the North Kitsap Herald. Check the Poulsbo Beat for information about events around the city. Have a news tip, email roxley@northkitsapherald.com.

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