We have the Cheneys to thank for exposing a little known City Ordinance in the Gig Harbor Municipal Code; never before used in the downtown area.
Development Agreements give Council the singular autocratic authority to disregard our Zoning Codes. 7 individuals (on City Council) can decide how big, how tall, and how dense development can be. That's a lot of authority in very few hands.
The Cheneys have spent an enormous amount of time and money to create a beautiful urban design (see One Harbor Point Book 3 Section A and Section B). The problem is it doesn't fit and their proposal is in direct conflict with the town's Harbor Vision. Further, it sparks a dangerous precedent that will destabilize the future scale and character for all of downtown Gig Harbor.
The Katke Amendment offered a way to limit the Development Agreement code but was rejected. It doesn't matter if 25 other cities say Development Agreements are legal --that's not the point.
The issue is that a majority of our Community doesn't want City Council using Development Agreements to change the downtown.
If our Zoning Codes are too inflexible, fix them. If the City wants the Boat Barn, buy it. If Council doesn't believe we represent a majority, ask for a City-wide vote.
Let City Council know what you think.
(go to 2012 Harbor Visioning to learn more about the process used to define Chapters 3 and 4 of the Gig Harbor Comprehensive Plan)