City Council denies Transfer of Development Rights program

The City Council voted unanimously to deny approval of the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program and code proposal during its meeting Feb. 12 at City Hall. Councilman John Clauson was not present at the meeting.

Councilman Rob Putaansuu said his concern with the TDR is that the only receiving area was downtown.

“Overall, I don’t think it’s a bad program. But how it was presented is what I have a problem with,” Putaansuu.

Councilman Fred Chang said, in general, it was a good program, but he doesn’t see any benefits for the city.

The Planning Department was awarded a $97,000 planning grant by the Washington State Department of Commerce to study a potential TDR program. Grant requirements state the Council must decide whether to accept the program as written. The grant expires Feb. 28.

Public hearings were held late last year by the Planning Commission, which passed a resolution recommending adoption of the TDR. Acting Developmental Director Tom Bonsell said the Planning Commission was apprehensive about the TDR, but it was explained to them “this is a tool for development that may or may not work.”

“The commission wanted to show support for this type of TDR,” Bonsell said.

TDR is a voluntary program entered by land owners and developer.

“We’re not shutting the door on any future TDRs, only shutting the door on this project,” said Councilwoman Carolyn Powers. “Our biggest objection is because it only covers downtown.”

Powers said all the groundwork is in place to look at future TDRs.

“It’s our work project, we keep it, put it on a shelf and any time we feel the need to dust it off, sharpen it up and get more consensus for a receiving area,” Bonsell said.

The next council meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26.


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