Permanent rules for Howard Street area in Port Townsend expected in January

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council’s public hearing on interim land use rules for a portion of the Howard Street subarea was quick and quiet with no public comment, resulting in the interim rules remaining in place with no changes.

The interim land use regulations — which were approved and implemented in July — for the subarea of Sixth and 10th streets along Howard Street and Discovery Ways have officially been extended six months, putting their expiration date in January.

Planning Director Lance Bailey said officials hope to have new permanent zoning and land use rules to implement by then as part of the Howard Street subarea plan.

“We’re on schedule to complete most of the work on Howard Street by the end of the year,” Bailey said. “We’re also making a lot of progress on the subarea plan.”

The interim rules have been in place since July after the City Council waived council rules to extend the interim regulations.

The regulations allow for mixed area zoning. Goals for the subarea include high-density housing, space for small business and small manufacturers.

The same interim rules had been put in place last winter but expired in June 2017.

While the council waived council rules in July, they were required to have a public hearing on the matter within 60 days.

Tuesday night’s public hearing fulfilled that requirement, despite the lack of public comment.

Council members also had no comments and, because no changes were made, no action was taken at Tuesday’s meeting because the ordinance was already put in place back in July.

Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson called for public comment twice during the roughly 10-minute hearing, but no one present that night spoke and no written testimony had been submitted.

Last month, the city hosted the second public open house and issued a second community survey to get public input on preferences for the nearly completed Howard Street, according to Bailey.

The second meeting and survey both received fewer responses than the first, but Bailey said that was to be expected.

“We are still getting a lot of positive feedback,” Bailey said.

The findings of the survey will be presented to the Howard Street subarea task force, a group of city officials, contractors and subarea land owners, at their final meeting in October, he said.

With the help of the task force, Bailey said, officials hope to start fleshing out the subarea plan.

Zoning and land use regulations will be included in the subarea plan, and Bailey said officials are looking at either tweaking the existing zoning code or possibly creating new zoning districts.

“We’re getting closer to that point where we’ll need to make that decision,” he said.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]

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