Some people think that Development Agreements are useful. After all, our City has decades of complicated zoning codes and layers of outdated restrictions that, in some cases, prevent the flexibility and change our community desires. So finding a way to bypass all that sticky red tape (current zoning regulations) seems refreshing. But that fresh air can sour in an instant under the wrong leadership.
Which is why Gig Harbor’s 2013 Development Agreement is Pandora’s Box. Wholly subjective vetting by a select group of individuals with the authority to bypass the public is likely to have disastrous impacts on entire neighborhoods. It's an experiment that can go terribly wrong.
It is unfortunate that the Cheneys and their One Harbor Point project are getting caught. It appears they've been sequestered / surrounded by a narrow group of supporters along with the 2 or 3% that make up commercial interests in the downtown who have been told that more density means retail profit. Even if that were true, what about the rest of us? How will our lives benefit? I think the injustice is that we’ve never been asked.
Do people who live here want this Administration using Development Agreements?
The fact is that the Mayor has had over 3 years to ask her community. She hasn’t.
The notion that taller buildings and unrestrained density are the evolution of all small towns is a lie. It’s a choice. Until Development Agreements are openly scrutinized BY THE PUBLIC, any effort to bypass zoning regulations should be DOA. We need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of them before we open Pandora’s Box. If it means a moratorium, so be it. We don’t yet know what the broader community thinks and we need to find out.
Neighborhoods at Risk
When people invest in their homes -- when they move into a neighborhood they are entitled to predictable zoning that isn’t up to the highest bidder. That’s what our current zoning codes ensure. So how can increasing the allowance from 8 to 35 without a meaningful public process be okay? The justification is that there’s a trade for Public Benefit… Who decides what that is? And how much is enough?
4GIGHARBOR is a forum committed to the spirit of democracy. We post blog opinions that are intended to open the door to critical thinking. We are committed to civility and an exchange of credible information aimed at understanding the pluses and minuses of major decisions BEFORE they impact the quality of life we’ve all come to expect.
Ask the Community if they want Development Agreements used downtown.
Your voice matters. Send Council your opinion and attend the Development Agreement Review on:
The next DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS meeting is:
Plng & Blg Committee Mon - Mar 20, 2017 - 5:30 pm
Gig Harbor Civic Center | 3510 Grandview Street
The meeting will focus on the Public Input Process for Development Agreements. Public Comment will be allowed. (Committee Councilmembers: Paul Kadzik | Steve Ekberg | Rahna Lovrovich)
Below is the area that can (under current Development Agreement allowances) bypass all zoning regulations and circumvent public input.
Let City Council know what you think.