Residents of “G” Street in Washougal can dismiss concerns they have had regarding their properties being rezoned to allow particular businesses locating next to their homes.
The Washougal City Council voted last night to rezone some properties along the north and south frontage of “E” Street, from Sixth to 35th streets. The decision affects properties that are currently zoned “convenience commercial,” “multi-family residential” or “single family residential.” They will be rezoned “community commercial.”
The rezone includes Smead’s Tavern, Orchard Hills Animal Hospital and the Washougal School District bus barn. The owners of Smead’s are hoping to have some improvements done, while the bus barn could be relocated if the School District decides to sell.
Several “G” Street residents spoke during last night’s public hearing.
Marilyn Tyrrell said she did not see any particular reason for the rezoning.
“Are people rushing to buy up properties?” she asked.
“We are a quiet bunch living together,” Tyrell added. “There are kids, dogs, cats and walkers. It is not a commercial street.”
Jayne Lacey spoke against the rezoning in her neighborhood.
Lacey, an arborist, horticulturist and “young urban farmer,” said she did not want to wake up and see her neighbors’ trees knocked down.
Leslie Weseman said the timing was not quite right for a rezone.
“How will it affect my taxes?” she asked. “My house value has plummeted.”
Mike Norris was concerned someone would purchase large blocks of land for big box stores or a car lot.
“It is a narrow, two-lane road with a lot of pedestrian traffic,” he said.
Mayor Sean Guard said he directed city staff members in 2010 to look into the potential of rezoning streets “to stimulate economic activity.”
“‘E’ Street is commercial in nature with residential,” he said. “I do not want to negatively impact neighbors’ property values or taxes.”
Allowable uses with community commercial zoning include existing residences without any increase in density as well as mixed use developments that include retail commercial on the first floor and residential use on the second floor. Additional uses include professional offices, rest homes and bed and breakfast inns, as well as produce stands, flea markets, artists/photographic studios, athletic clubs, banks, caterers, locksmiths, pet groomers and stores that sell garden supplies or motorcycles.
Mitch Kneipp, interim community development director, has said the rezoning is an effort to create jobs and opportunities for ongoing retail sales tax.