PORT ANGELES — A conditional use permit application will be considered at a public hearing Tuesday for a seven-story downtown building that would exceed the allowed height limit by 25 feet.
Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves’ virtual hearing is at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the 70-foot Anian Shores housing-retail-parking garage complex, which would be built on a parking lot at the corner of West Front and North Oak streets.
It would exceed the 45-foot height restriction by two stories but provide additional housing in the downtown core.
To access the meeting, go to https://tinyurl.com/PDN-VirtualCalendar. The hearing also serves as the deadline for public comment.
The city Department of Community and Economic Development recommended approval of the permit in a Tuesday staff report by Planning Technician Kevin Bagwell (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-AnianReport).
“The downtown area currently lacks market-rate housing; therefore, the proposal supports the policy to encourage the availability of housing to all economic segments of the population (emphasis added),” Bagwell writes.
“The requested height is necessary to offset the economic impacts created by doubling the existing amount of parking,” he continued.
“This proposal strengthens the downtown, serves the entire community, the regional market and tourists by bringing mixed-use multi-family residential accessibility to the downtown.”
The housing units would fulfill 44 percent of the projected demand for 2020 for multifamily housing, Bagwell added.
Downtown housing is “extremely important,” City Manager Nathan West said Friday.
“It’s part of creating a vibrancy for the long term for downtown,” West said.
Most of the 22 public comments received so far oppose what would likely be the tallest building in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
“Seven stories is too high for downtown — it will stick out like a sore thumb and compete with the natural beauty of Port Angeles,” Fran Mason said.
“Four stories would be more appropriate.”
“This will open the floodgates for more people who want to build tall buildings,” Gordon Clark said.
Jennifer Wilson said it would not meet the needs of affordable housing.
And the CEO of North Olympic Healthcare Network, Dr. Michael Maxwell, said that, while he personally supports the project, he is concerned about safe ingress and egress to the nearby clinic.
The permit was supported by the Port Angeles Waterfront Center, which has dedicated parking as part of the project, and the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
“[Central Business District] planning encourages mixed-use development for residential housing with retail and professional services square footage,” chamber board President Christopher Thomsen said in the statement of support.
“The project’s estimated height of 69 feet, 6 inches does not block the Port Angeles Harbor or Ediz Hook views of the current bluff residents, at 90 [feet].”
While the staff report describes the housing units as “market-rate,” the conditional-use permit application says they are “housing and/or lodging units” that would be “middle and high-income” (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-AnianApplication).
Project developer Eric Dupar of Bellevue and his representative, Margaret Midkiff, did not return calls for comment Friday.
If Reeves approves Dupar’s application, the Port Angeles City Council will consider it soon after a purchase and sale agreement with the Bellevue developer to buy the city-surplus property, West said.
Dupar already leases the parking-lot parcel and would raze a vacant building next to the lot on the corner of West Front and North Oak streets.
The housing portion of Anian Shores would contain 79 units with ground-level retail totaling 3,225 feet and a 2,775-square-foot “high turnover, sit-down restaurant,” according to the application.
West of housing units and directly adjacent would be a 320-stall parking garage, more than doubling the existing total of 127 parking spots and adding 35 additional ground-level outdoor spaces.
Parking would include 26 free three-hour stalls.
Thirty-three percent of the 109,000-square-foot building space would be taken by the garage.
Which parking spaces would be free and which would be paid stalls, and what those fees would be, was not included in the application, although parking concerns were expressed in a public comment from Realtor Paul Beck.
“We are not considering parking” in the application, city Planning Manager Emma Bolin said Friday.
There would be 216 stalls for Field Arts and Events Hall patrons, 166 for adjacent office buildings, 104 for residents of the complex, and 100 for the state Department of Social and Health Services a block south on West First Street.
The project was determined to not have a negative environmental impact under the state Environmental Policy Act.
Asked as part of the application what sight views would be affected by the project, Dupar responded: “Views of the properties due south of the project will be affected (state Department of Social and Health Services building and a row of retail structures).”
Two commenters questioned if the city fire department had a ladder tall enough to reach seven stories.
“We definitely have the ability to handle a seven-story building, no problem,” Chief Ken Dubuc said Friday.
The department’s ladder can reach 100 feet, he said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].