We are residents of a single family home at 2809 Harborview Drive, just down the street from the Tides Tavern and adjacent to the Old Ferry Landing Park. Across the street from our house is a significant number of neighbors residing in multi-family residences, some of which are rented, and some are owned. Our opinions/concerns regarding the proposed Cheney development are as follows:
1. Parking, traffic flow, and safety along Harborview between the Tides Tavern and the street end at the Old Ferry Landing Park near our home is a major concern of ours, as well as many of our neighbors. If the proposed development can be designed to enhance parking and safety along this Harborview Dr. street end, and encourage the public to walk to the street end, rather than drive, these measures would help address these concerns.
2. The city of Gig Harbor has been pressed for years to help, support or subsidize some kind of marine gas/diesel facility to back up its continued representation as being a “maritime destination” town, or Maritime City, etc. The Cheney proposal may include the donation of the large and somewhat historical “egg” or poultry building, now known as the boat barn. Years ago, the pier and dock in front of this building used to offer marine fuel, and if the Cheney proposal moves forward — and the city benefits from a gift from the Cheney Foundation of the Boat barn — we feel that this may be a prime location for the permitting and construction of a much-needed and overdue marine fuel facility for Gig Harbor. In addition, the boat barn building, if owned by the city, could be home to a number of interesting and innovative uses that could benefit the entire community.
3. It is highly improbable that the existing urban forest on the Haub property will ever remain as such, given its zoning and proximity within the city limits. The site is unlikely to become a park. The city owns lots of valuable park property, and has made many marvelous additions to its park district in locations much more suitable for passive and active recreation, and/or other typical park uses than this Haub/Cheney property.
4. Overall, we are not concerned about the proposed density on the subject property for residential occupancy. There is lots of density across the street from where we live, and it makes for a great neighborhood when mixed with the single family homes. We believe that the city and (hopefully) responsible developers should do everything possible to create a reasonable amount of affordable housing opportunities downtown, and that the downtown residents (like us) who own their own homes on single family lots or other low density housing types are simply fortunate. However, the most vibrant downtown corridors we have experienced have a robust mix of single family homes and higher density residences — the combination of which can lead to an improved and healthy economic, social and cultural environment for downtown areas. Currently, the downtown business environment, in particular, appears to be in a state of decline and stagnation. A new influx of people from a variety of backgrounds that can find a home to rent or buy and can afford to live downtown may help reverse this trend.
5. At some point, the subject property will be sold to someone and it will be developed. The current owners, the Haubs family, has made it clear that it intends to sell. The city may be fortunate to have an applicant like the Cheney Foundation to build a quality number of residences on this property. This development should help address some local traffic issues, potentially contribute a valuable and historical boat barn building and property to the public, and adding 30 or 40 new housing opportunities to a new population of folks could bring economic, social, and cultural additions to our city.
As very fortunate longtime Gig Harbor residents who happen to enjoy the rare opportunity of living downtown in a single family home, we look forward to listening and sharing credible ideas and information about the pros and cons of the proposed Cheney multi-family housing development.
Dave and Mame Morris are longtime Gig Harbor residents.