Residents in Gig Harbor North are one step closer to having another shopping option at their disposal after Monday night’s approval by the Gig Harbor City Council of a development agreement for The Village at Harbor Hill along Borgen Boulevard.
Headed by Olympic Property Group (OPG), the agreement will allow a proposed project for construction of a Town and Country Market to anchor a business park on an 18.56-acre site at the southeast corner of Harbor Hill Drive and Borgen Boulevard, east of Costco.
Monday’s meeting featured presentations from Jennifer Kester, the city’s planning director, OPG’s John Chadwell, and Peter Powell, with Powell Development Company, a property management firm, along with a public hearing.
OPG submitted the development agreement application at the end of December, and requested on April 4 that the public hearing be scheduled to consider the initiation of the development agreement.
The development agreement includes deviations such as an allowance for a variety of mixed use in the area, the removal of a condition requiring a connecting road through the site and a request to remove and replant the buffer along Borgen Boulevard and Harbor Hill Drive, citing safety concerns due to falling trees.
The proposal has been reviewed three times over the last several years by the Design Review Board, which offered recommendations and guidance for the development.
We think it’s time for Gig Harbor to have another grocery store up (in the north part of town), and particularly a very nice grocery store.
John Chadwell, Olympic Property Group
“We sat on the sidelines for quite awhile,” Chadwell said. “We think it’s time for Gig Harbor to have another grocery store up there, and particularly a very nice grocery store.”
Recommendations from the DRB have been included in updates of the site design. The business park will focus on local companies and a family-friendly feel, said Powell.
“We have gone through several of the informals with the DRB and enjoyed our back and forths very much,” Powell said. “We’ve tried to work very closely and we’ve listened very hard to the DRB and to what (Gig Harbor city) staff have said and hope we’re heading in the right direction. We want to have that neighborhood feel.”
With outdoor seating and a walkable design, the goal for the development is to provide a neighborhood gathering and destination place for Gig Harbor residents. The idea for a “village” feel originated with former Mayor Gretchen Wilbert, said OPG President John Rose, who remembered her asking for a neighborhood gathering place when OPG developed the Costco business area.
“This started with Gretchen ... we’ve created a large community up there that’s missing a piece,” Rose said. “It actually has a really important planning function for Gig Harbor North.”
Public comments included concern for the removal of trees for the development, but mainly focused on any increase in traffic along Borgen Boulevard.
Gig Harbor resident Nancy Jerkovich expressed both her concern for increases in traffic and her approval for the development: “We’re going to have progress, we’re going to have building … I do think traffic needs to be worked on. Other than that I think it looks like a good project.”
Chadwell stated that the city’s traffic model had been used to ensure that the surrounding roadways could handle the development and received positive results. Further studies on traffic and any needed mitigations would be included as the design moves forward, Kester added.
The Council voted six to one to approve the development agreement moving forward, with Councilmember Ken Malich opposing the agreement, citing concerns for the requested deviations.
Gig Harbor North park naming
A new park located in Gig Harbor North — previously known as Gateway Park — has been officially rennamed Shaw Park, following a unanimous Council vote Monday night.
Parks Project administrator Katrina Knutson presented the recommendation from the Parks Commission, noting that the rennaming of the park was necessary to avoid confusion with the development of a Key Peninsula park already known as Gateway Park.
Shaw Park is named after Gig Harbor resident Clarence Shaw, who was an advocate for the city of Gig Harbor in the early 1900s. Shaw was the owner of Roosterville, a popular rooster racing attraction located in the Gig Harbor North area.
A public process queried feedback from the Gig Harbor community for the naming of the park. Suggestions included naming the park after Jamie Fay, a 36-year-old resident who was killed along Borgen Boulevard by a falling tree on Aug. 29, 2015.
The Parks Commission reviewed the suggestions and noted that other Gig Harbor parks have typically been named after a local historic figure or a nearby location. They recommended that Fay be honored within the park in a different way.