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Zoning changes will allow more neighborhood uses

POULSBO — Residential neighborhoods will see the bulk of the change coming from Poulsbo’s zoning code update — more diverse housing for affordable and low-impact development, and more businesses that fit into neighborhoods.

City Council members held their latest workshop on proposed code changes Wednesday evening. The council has been deliberating changes to the code for a few months, after more than a year of work by planning staff and the planning commission. The zoning code was last updated in 2001.

Here’s a breakdown of the main changes so far.

Residential
— A new category, Neighborhood Commer-cial, would allow low-intensity commercial businesses within walkable distances. Examples are a small grocery store, bakery, coffeeshop, restaurant and daycare. The council decided to prohibit professional/medical/dental office space.
— Home Occupation has been expanded. Depending on the neighborhood, home-based businesses could be allowed to have an employee or regular customers at the residence.
— Infill residential development standards. In order to develop smaller parcels left in developed neighborhoods, this category provides incentives to develop by allowing 5,000 square-foot lots to be developed (residential development minimum is 7,500 square-feet).
— Accessory Dwelling Units, a smaller, detached unit on the property of an existing home. Property owners must live on the property if they build an accessory dwelling unit, and can either use it as a home office or may rent the unit out. Cottage Housing is another new allowable category.
— Livestock and poultry, currently known as “agricultural uses,” would be expanded to allow for urban agriculture. Currently, livestock and poultry are not allowed on properties smaller than one acre, with strict exceptions. The council agreed to allow chickens on properties of 7,500 square feet or more, but did not make a decision on how many chickens would be allowed. The current rules pertaining to livestock would remain the same.

Commercial
— Four commercial districts designated. Although there will be no changes in uses, staff expanded the city’s commercial districts from two to four to reflect each area’s needs and accommodations. The code creates four commercial districts: Viking Avenue, College Marketplace, 305 corridor and downtown.

Councilman Ed Stern said he was uncomfortable setting size limitations while Viking Avenue is “targeted for redevelopment.” The proposed code sets a 50,000-square-foot cap of any building on Viking Avenue or along 305; College Marketplace is designated for the “big box” stores of 50,000 square-feet or larger.

— Beverage/food and retail mobile carts would be allowed, with a temporary use permit and no more than two parking spaces, in commercial districts except downtown. Staff said the planning commission didn’t permit food carts downtown because of space constraints. The council spoke favorably of food carts, but wanted more examples of what would be allowed.

The council set their next workshop for Nov. 28, 7 p.m., in Council Chambers, and expect the first public hearing will be early next year.The draft zoning code is available www.cityofpoulsbo.com/planning/planning_codeam_2010.htm under City Council Review.

 

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