Planning commission approves Gateway plan
By Tara Nelson
Plans for a new mixed-use development at Blaine airport are moving forward after the Blaine Planning Commission approved a preliminary site plan last month.
In their regular meeting October 23, the commission voted unanimously in favor of a general binding site plan submitted by a Blaine developer for the redevelopment of the airport.
Commissioners approved a staff report recommending approval of a plan submitted by Gateway LLC, headed by Blaine dentist Patrick Rooney and TC Trading owner Tom Hayes, which would facilitate the development of approximately 33 acres of land zoned for commercial and industrial uses.
Although the plan does not provide details of a full build-out, it does provide a layout of future rights-of-way such as roads and the infrastructure improvements needed to maintain adequate levels of service. Some of the recommended improvements include a roundabout at the intersection of Boblett Street and a future north-south road, as well as a regional stormwater management facility, a partial vacation of Grant Avenue to be used for commercial parking, and the development of safe and accessible pedestrian crossings on SR 543 at H and Boblett streets.
City planner Michael Jones said the project will include an extension of Boblett Street that will connect to Ludwick Avenue and a new road that will connect Grant Avenue to Pipeline Road. Jones said these new roads will likely create significant changes in traffic flow because the airport had created a physical barrier to vehicles.
While the plan calls for safety improvements such as a pedestrian overpass and count-down crosswalk signals, because the truck route is a state-designated highway, the city will need to work with the Washington state Department of Transportation to develop those, Jones said.
“Where that will go hasn’t really been decided yet,” he said. “There are a lot of different options we are going to look at.”
Blaine City Council is scheduled to review the binding site plan at their next meeting at 7 p.m. November 10.