Grocery stores in neighborhoods? Coffee shops? Supermarkets? Retail? Fruit and vegetable markets? Will our neighborhoods be rezoned someday to allow for these businesses?
On June 14, 2011 Redmond City Council spent another of many "study sessions" reviewing "neighborhood commercial" (NC) rezoning. Planner Kim Dietz's goal was for council to decide on where NC can be situated in the community and how to prevent "commercial creep."
The NC rezone method agreed upon by council includes certain requirements :
- no more than one commercial development concentrated in each of six different neighborhood areas spread throughout the city.
- rezones are no larger than 1-acre and predominantly near residential.
- development must be in close proximity to one of the following three concentrations: a business, home, or recreation e.g. park.
Councilmember Kim Allen said "from an historical perspective NC has always been around." Councilmember Hank Margeson said, NC "is more open today but, is not wide open".
Planner Kim Dietz reminded council that "none of our neighborhood plans (citizen advisory committees) say 'no' to neighborhood commercial. Some were silent or speak to general support or a higher level of support..." The Bear Creek neighborhood had a high level of support.
Margeson referred to his experience on the Education Hill Neighborhood Advisory Committee when citizens were committing to keeping an open mind. He said "The advisory committee was asked: do you want to encourage NC more?,,, find a spot where it might fit?,,, vs. a simple 'yes' or 'no' question."
Councilmember John Stilin wanted to understand what "keeping an open mind meant." The Idlewood Neighborhood process requires a land use review in addition to a rezone. When pressed, Planner Dietz said neighbors could "opt out" of a project but, the final decision rests with Council. President Richard Cole clarified that when a developer applies for a project in any neighborhood, it would have a "review panel" (composed of neighbors and staff). Vice President Pat Vache' concurred and the entire council, agreed in silence.
Council's final review was centered on concerns of 7/11 type convenience stores. Cole is extremely outspoken against these stores in our neighborhoods, as is Allen. Councilmember Allen, a land-use hearing examiner in Kitsap, said these types of stores would be "regulated out" by hours and large signage. Stilin said the focus should be on "aesthetics". "7/11's" have a limited line of goods. The types of projects allowed by council are: supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, retail, cafeteria, restaurants, take-out, coffee shops. Councilmember Hank Myers said all commercial projects would be subject to the Design Review Board. Council will review the development criteria every five years.
Citizens may comment at the Hearing scheduled for July 19. Council has a final study session on August 9 and will vote on it September 6, 2011.
July 19 Hearing - document