Don’t Let Development Agreements Change Downtown

Lita Dawn Stanton | Letter to the Editor | Peninsula Gateway | March 2, 2017

We have the Cheneys to thank for exposing a little known ordinance in our city code — never before used in the downtown area.

Development Agreements give city councils the singular autocratic authority to disregard our zoning codes. Seven individuals (on the 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 in their One Harbor Point Project. The problem is it doesn’t fit, and their proposal is in direct conflict with the town’s 2013 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 the 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 the Council doesn’t believe we represent a majority, ask for a city-wide vote.

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)