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Area envisioned as unique home, business mecca

By Cindy Yingst, Thursday, April 4, 2019

A newly zoned commercial/mixed use area could be the perfect spot for alternative housing ideas, city commissioners decided Tuesday.

Pockets of tiny houses and cottage clusters interspersed with neighborhood businesses and second-story loft apartments could help the city meet its housing needs and spark the right kind of commercial development, such as restaurants, bakeries, small markets and offices.

“If we can have smaller homes here, we want them for people who live here and work here, not for vacation rentals,” Commissioner Tom Dyer said.

“If done right, it would create an urban feel with studio apartments above and professional offices and things like wine bars below,” Commissioner Pam Ackley said.

The area, which is known as Spur 104, encompasses 18 acres between Alternate Highway 101 (Spur 104) and U.S. Highway 101. Property owners petitioned the city to change the zoning from low-density residential to allow commercial ventures along the region’s main highway and commissioners agreed.

“Regardless of what you put there, it’s a great spot: high ground, lots of infrastructure. It’s valuable land,” Mayor Henry Balensifer said.

Ackley suggested the businesses go along the spur with the housing behind it.

Tuesday’s meeting was a work session that allowed commissioners to give direction to city staff about how to plan for development in the area.

Community Development Director Kevin Cronin will hire a consultant to work with the public on a series of meetings, allowing residents and property owners to have a say in what the area will look like. A final plan would come before the Planning Commission in June.

Making the area pedestrian-friendly with sidewalks and bus stops would keep residents from adding to nearby traffic woes. And having a development theme – used in cities such as Leavenworth, Wash., and Bend – with an attractive design scheme for street signs, pocket parks, lights and buildings would prevent hodge-podge construction.

Tom Dyer

Pam Ackley

Mayor Henry Balensifer

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