In a 5-2 vote, Blaine City Council approved combining its code amendment request with East Harbor Hills’ request that would clean city code inconsistencies to allow large manufactured home parks in east Blaine. The joint text amendment will be presented to the city’s planning commission for a public hearing on Thursday, September 14.
Councilmembers Kerena Higgins and Richard May opposed combining the text amendments, which will follow the developer’s request, during the September 11 council meeting. The vote came after city council held a study session on the topic.
During the study session, acting planning director Alex Wenger reviewed with council the requirements the city already has for manufactured home parks, including buffers, parking and landscaping standards. Council members discussed changes it could make to city code during the session.
“We are trying to potentially craft a code that will apply to the city and [planned residential] zone,” May said. “Not any one particular applicant or one particular use, so that other properties as they develop, we’ve set the code to apply to all of them.”
May said he wanted to review buffer zones and consider inclusionary zoning as an incentive for affordable housing in larger parks. Higgins, who has previously voiced concern on manufactured home parks in east Blaine, said she wanted council to better define park requirements.
Council’s vote to combine the text amendments signals the next step in a nearly two-year process for East Harbor Hills developers Skip and Katie Jansen.
The Jansens purchased their East Harbor Hills property, between Grandis Pond and The Ridge at Harbor Hills, with the intention of creating a manufactured home park. However, upon discussion with city staff in fall 2021, they discovered the code for planned unit developments (PUDs) does not allow the parks, despite the underlying zoning code allowing them and having a section on development requirements.
Manufactured home parks that are five acres or larger are required to be developed as PUDs and the Jansens have said they need at least five acres for the park. Manufactured home parks are only allowed in east Blaine, east of 15th Street to city limits and from the U.S./Canada border to H Street Road.
City staff recommended the Jansens submit a text amendment request, which requires going through the public process, to clean the inconsistencies. Dozens of east Blaine residents voiced opposition to the amendment request as planning commission delayed voting on whether to recommend city council approve or deny the request over the past year.
Growing frustrated with the pushed vote, Skip Jansen withdrew the request in early May but later reinstated the request in early August. He asked the city, which began working on its own code amendment this summer, if it wanted the two requests to be processed together. Council waited until the September 11 meeting to vote on joining the requests because not all of the councilmembers were present at the August council meeting.
Several people spoke against and in support of manufactured home parks during the September 11 public comment.
The planning commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 14 in council chambers, 435 Martin Street, suite 4000. Planning commission will send its recommendation on the code amendment to city council for final approval.
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