City unveils new zoning guidelines

Published on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

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In an effort to simplify zoning requirements and promote a more aesthetically pleasing downtown area, city planners have drafted new architectural guidelines for downtown Blaine.

Residents and business owners were invited to view the plans and submit comments during an open house at city hall July 
17.

Community development director Michael Jones said the new codes condense the 30-page document the city has used for the last 14 years down to two or three pages, which will make it easier for developers to follow the rules while reducing the time city employees spend reviewing plans.

“We’ve added more clarity and more flexibility to make the development review process as easy and efficient as possible,” Jones said.

Along with simplifying development, the new guidelines aim to ensure that future developments fit the character of each downtown neighborhood. For example, businesses along the waterfront must have space between them so the waterfront remains visible.

“We tried to recognize that our downtown shouldn’t be treated as a homogenous zone,” Jones said.

Community development services will take public comments into consideration before presenting the plans to city council. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for the planning commission meeting August 14 at 7 p.m. in city council chambers.