‘E’ Street rezone area could lead to economic development

Proposal would rezone 40 acres

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A wide variety of businesses could one day choose to open on lots adjacent to “E” Street.

The Washougal Planning Commission has forwarded a recommendation of approval for the rezoning of 40 acres on the north and south sides of “E” Street from Sixth to 35th streets.

If the area is rezoned from single and multi-family residential and convenience commercial to community commercial, allowable uses could 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, said the rezoning is an effort to create jobs and opportunities for ongoing retail sales tax.

Local residents who attended the March 22 planning commission meeting included Sarah Milhollin. She questioned the need for the rezoning when there are currently some empty buildings available on “E” Street.

Milhollin submitted a petition with her signature as well as eight of her neighbors who are opposed to the rezone.

“It’s a residential neighborhood, not commercial,” she said.

Joyce Staffman said she was not totally opposed to the rezone, and she mentioned that some of the vacant buildings on “E” Street are not in good shape.

Cathy McMullen said she did not see a great need for additional commercial space.

“There are some vacancies in the building in center of town,” she said, referring to Washougal Town Square, a $13 million development in downtown Washougal.

The rezoning issue will be forwarded to the Washougal City Council for a public hearing and a decision in April or May.