Boardwalkhits stumbling block

Published on Thu, Sep 16, 2004 by eg Olson

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Boardwalk hits stumbling block

By Meg Olson

“The boardwalk is just set for construction,” Blaine community and economic development director Terry Galvin told Blaine city council - with one catch. Isac Feldstein.

“Based on issues of easements we have extended the bid deadline to October 8,” Galvin told council members at the September 13 city council meeting. The easement issue in question is Feldstein’s refusal to grant the city an easement at the back of property he and his family own on Peace Portal Drive, needed for construction of the boardwalk.

Galvin said of the seven property owners who would be adjacent to the boardwalk and from whom easements were needed, Feldstein was the only holdout. “We have a verbal from everybody,” he said.

Feldstein spoke to city council August 23 to voice his opposition to the project. “The boardwalk itself is an obstruction,” he said. “You don’t want a boardwalk with rails and people walking by. The ocean view makes this the most valuable block in the downtown area.”

Feldstein presented a long list of objections to the project, from a lack of land for parking if the easement were granted, to the cost of maintaining the boardwalk being a strain on taxpayers and the noise and traffic of a busy boardwalk being a strain on people living and doing business in that block. “People will be yelling from one end of that boardwalk to the other,” he said. “We will be prisoners in our own buildings.” The Feldsteins own three vacant parcels between G and H streets on Peace Portal Drive. Feldstein is a Vancouver resident.

Mayor Dieter Schugt explained the project was to stimulate tourism and economic development in the downtown area and was being in large part funded through a rural sales tax grant. “These are our dollars coming back to us for economic development,” he said.

Galvin said the city is moving forward with condemnation proceedings to secure an easement.