An artist’s rendering shows the concept of a seven-story Anian Shores building on the Port Angeles waterfront. A conditional use permit has been granted for the building, which is planned to exceed height limitations.

An artist’s rendering shows the concept of a seven-story Anian Shores building on the Port Angeles waterfront. A conditional use permit has been granted for the building, which is planned to exceed height limitations.

Anian Shores permit approved with conditions

Seven-story structure planned in downtown Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Approval of the tallest building in Port Angeles includes conditions that tone down the seven-story structure’s visual impact to prevent surrounding downtown property values from declining, according to a recent decision granting a conditional use permit for the project.

In his ruling, Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves of Seattle cited “overwhelming” public support for the project.

He said Bellevue developer Eric Dupar’s Anian Shores residential-commercial project must shield void-spaces on each level of the six-story parking garage from public view, suggesting landscaping or artwork as mitigating measures.

Dupar said Wednesday he is waiting for the 21-day appeal period to expire on July 31 before commenting. He said he will not appeal the decision.

Dupar’s 109,000-square-foot building reduces the view from the city’s bluff by 1.38 degrees, according to a city Department of Community and Economic Development staff report that recommended permit approval.

That’s far less than the 18 degrees of obstruction that was allowed in a key 2002 court case involving the city of Anacortes, the report said.

“All rooftop appurtenances shall be screened to ensure maximum compatibility and minimal aesthetic impacts to the surrounding environment,” Reeves said in his decision, issued Friday.

His conditions mirrored those presented in the staff report.

“With conditions, the proposed use would be consistent and compatible with the [Commercial Business District] and the Comprehensive Plan, and would not be contrary to the public use and interest,” he said.

Anian Shores’ 320-parking-stall garage will be next to a 79-unit residential building on West Front Street that will be 72 feet at its highest point, or 27 feet taller than the city’s existing 45-foot height limit, prompting the need for a conditional use permit.

The housing will be “market-rate,” according to the staff report.

The project will include a ground floor of five retail shops and a restaurant.

It will be built at the location of a vacant store that will be razed and parking lot that Dupar leases from the city.

City officials are preparing to sell the parking lot land to Dupar as surplus. The council will consider a purchase-and-sale agreement in August, City Manager Nathan West said Wednesday.

Dupar must inform the department on measures he will employ to meet the conditions for approval before he can apply for a building permit, Community and Economic Development Director Allyson Brekke said Wednesday.

Some parking spaces at Anian Shores are set aside for the Port Angeles Waterfront Center, located across the street on the north side of West Front Street, where the Field Arts & Events Center is under construction.

Field Center board of directors President Brooke Taylor was among those at the June 23 conditional-use-permit hearing who cited Dupar’s project as indicative of a “renaissance” downtown, reminding participants that the arts and events center also exceeds the 45-foot limit.

Taylor said he expects other downtown developers to seek conditional use permits for 50- to 70-foot buildings, including the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s hotel a block east of the Waterfront Center, where construction has stopped during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Brekke said the city has not received any recent communication from the tribe about the project.

She said she expects residents to weigh in on city building-height standards and other aspects of downtown development as a Downtown Vision and Strategic Plan is developed by the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The City Council approved the $40,000 contract with the chamber July 7, minus 3 percent for city administrative costs, to develop the plan, funded with Parking and Business Improvement Area funds generated by downtown businesses.

Under the contract, the public will be allowed to attend chamber meetings at which the agreement is discussed.

Jim Haguewood, a chamber board member and 2019 board president who helped put together the agreement, said Wednesday the Anian Shores permit approval could influence a discussion of increasing the height limits for at least a portion of downtown.

“Some of this is driven by the simple economics of the central business district because of the small footprints that some of the lots have,” Haguewood said, referring to the planned 100-room Lower Elwha hotel.

“To allow certain things to happen, you need to go up.”

Brekke also expects building heights will come up as part of her department’s effort, with a consultant’s help, to adopt a “form-based” code in the city’s commercial district to help increase residential capacity in the community.

“Form-based emphasizes form of building rather than uses inside,” Brekke said.

That project will be funded with a state Department of Commerce grant and must be completed by April 2021.

City Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin said Wednesday he favors keeping the 45-foot limit in some form so taller buildings are decided in a public process on a case-by-case basis.

“There should be a community process involved,” he said.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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