Moreroads called for in east Blaine subarea plan

Published on Thu, Aug 17, 2006 by ara Nelson

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More roads called for in east Blaine subarea plan

By Tara Nelson

More roads will be needed as the population of east Blaine continues to grow, according to a rough plan unveiled by the city of Blaine this week.

In an August 14 city council meeting, Blaine community development director Terry Galvin said the rough draft of the new east Blaine subarea plan is part of the city’s comprehensive plan update scheduled for early next year, and it will include a more accurate representation of population growth than previously anticipated.

Population projections for the east Blaine subarea, a narrow strip of 1,114 acres that stretches along H Street from State Route 543 to Blaine city limits, were estimated in 2002 to increase from 625 people to more than 1,200 but recent developments predict that number could be even higher.

“That was before we knew about Ken Hertz’s Grandis Pond and Doug Connelly’s East Maple Ridge planned unit developments,” Galvin said. “We’re talking about 1,300 units on the radar that weren’t accounted for in those projections.”

Blaine public works director Steve Banham said the new plan will call for the construction of an additional east-west collector road to pull traffic off H Street and several smaller north-south connector roads.

Banham said the additional roads will help prevent traffic back ups as the population continues to grow and allow for greater access to commercial centers such as the Blaine International Mall on H Street.
“We’re trying to address providing additional east-west movement to recognize that traffic is going to be a big issue in the future,” he said.
The plan also calls for improving and widening H Street from Blaine city limits to the intersection of the truck crossing at the bottom of the hill, as well as a possible bicycle lane and roundabouts near the edge of Lincoln Park.

“The idea is we want H Street to be as robust an arterial as possible,” Banham said.

The urban growth management act requires that road improvements be made in concurrence with development and Galvin said the city will require developers Connelly and Hertz to make certain road improvements along a stretch of H Street as well as fund partial construction of the new roads throughout the subarea.

Small changes
The plan also includes minor changes for zoning with greater allowances for flexibility and provisions to maintain the rural character and environmental sensitivity of the area.

“We’re really not proposing much of a change in the regulations that currently govern that subarea,” Galvin said. “It would allow more flexibility on lot restrictions, on set backs, height limits and mother-in-law suites. There’s not a whole lot of change except greater flexibility.”

The plan is scheduled to be completed later this year and will be incorporated into the Blaine comprehensive plan early next year, Galvin said.