The Gig Harbor City Council heard overwhelmingly positive remarks Monday night during a public hearing and first reading of a proposed text amendment that would allow for certain projects in the downtown area.
Acting Planning Director Jennifer Kester said the projects could “deviate from development standards if the proponent demonstrates consistency with the following requirements.”
Those would include being consistent with the adopted Harbor Vision, that the project preserves significant historic structures or demonstrates preservation and enhancement of the existing downtown character, that it would result in a superior design solution to what would otherwise be achieved by specific requirements of the municipal code, and that the proposed departures from zoning development standards are consistent with the health, safety, convenience and general welfare of the residents and area property owners.
“I’m here to express my support of this ordinance,” said Tacoma City Council member David Boe, who added he liked the direction Gig Harbor is going. “At least one shoe style does not fit all.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Gary Myers of GKS Builders in Gig Harbor.
“This is an optional process,” Kester said, adding it’s not another layer of bureaucracy, for unique projects. “I think it’s the right opportunity for the right project to come in.”
A second reading will be scheduled for a future city council meeting.
“Staff is recommending an effective date of March 4 in order to provide us time to develop application materials and guidance,” Kester said.
In other business, the council held a first reading of an ordinance to update the city’s temporary business licensing codes to add to the exemptions list in the regular business license chapter, repeal the Temporary Business License chapter and adopt a new chapter to address peddlers licensing — that is, those who sell goods or services house to house or place to place.
The $20-a-day fee for businesses operating less than 30 days was having the effect of causing subcontractors and other temporary businesses to claim they would be in town for 30 days in order to qualify for an annual license of $30. In addition, the city has found the 30-day requirement difficult to enforce.
City staff members believe eliminating the temporary business license will make it easier to service providers and allow contractors to obtain a license. Adopting a peddler license requirement will better regulate transient sales, staff members said.
At a future meeting, the council is expected to adopt the ordinance after a second reading.
Reporter Brett Davis can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brett.