Planning commission debates waterfront residential restrictions

The Hood River planning commission will need at least another meeting before deciding how any future residential development in commercial (C2) zones on the waterfront should be regulated.

At a two-and-a-half hour work session on Monday, the commission debated the merits of various proposals brought forward by planning commissioners.

About the only thing that was clear in the range of plans presented was that the commission has no appetite for eliminating residential outright on the waterfront.

Commission chair Laurie Stephens said, “We’ve been wrestling with this a little bit since the planning commission decided two weeks ago decided not to accept staff’s recommendation to completely eliminate residential but instead came to a general consensus to evaluate options for mixed use.”

Deciding just what balance of mixed use should be on the waterfront appears to be the stickiest issue.

By the end of the meeting several different proposals had been laid out.

“I think mixed use is fine, I think we can come up with something that protects commerce lands for what they are and if someone has a reason to want to put some residences down there to make their project pencil out II think we can find a way to do it,” Nathan DeVol said.

DeVol proposed a plan based on frontage – that as long as commercial development fronted the street, residential could be included.

“Why frontage I think works is that I would prefer to see commercial doors along that strip,” he said, adding that residential units could be above or behind the commercial strip in the front.

Stephen Winkle recommended mandating that the bottom floor (or entire building for a one story building) be commercial, but that above the ground floor residential units could be allowed.

Bill Irving recommended that a minimum level of space in each lot be devoted to commercial development and anything else, whether it be in an adjoining building or above the commercial area, could be residential.

Stephens pushed for a similar idea, of setting a minimum amount of commercial space with bonus residential spaces allowed beyond that.

Irving expressed some discomfort with the idea of encouraging developers to use the entire amount of allotted vertical space – which can be up to 45 feet on the waterfront.

“If we encourage 45 foot buildings down there, some people are going to hate us,” he said.

The planning commission will come back in two weeks to further hash out the proposals based on the idea that commercial should be the primary development and a certain percentage of commercial development would need to be reached before allowing residential, and that residential units must meet a certain density.

Any planning commission recommendation would be subject to city council review and approval.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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