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No business rezones in the 'hood
By ERICA JAHN
Two businesses that sought a rezone under Federal Ways comprehensive plan amendment process were dealt a minor blow March 18 when the City Council decided against granting their requests.
Neighbors living near Pats Plumbing and Vilmas Signs opposed rezoning the area to allow for neighborhood businesses or commercial businesses, saying such a change would allow current businesses to expand and new ones to come into the quiet neighborhood behind Steel Lake.
Council members agreed.
I recognize the dilemma thats faced by Pats Plumbing and Vilmas Signs, and its faced by all non-conforming businesses in our community, Councilman Eric Faison said.
Next year, he said, the city will analyze the neighborhood business and commercial business zoning criteria to figure out where site-specific requests, like those submitted by Pats Plumbing and Vilmas Signs, fit in the citys comprehensive plan.
Councilman Dean McColgan said the decision before the council was a difficult one.
The businesses concerned here are good, upstanding members of the community, he said. They are businesses that just want to be conforming. We need to promote businesses that want to grow, employ more people and conform.
He added he still believes there is room to compromise.
Newton Bruington, who lives near the businesses, said the neighborhood was never opposed to the businesses.
We were opposed to the expansion of the businesses, he said. I think the decision of the council affirms that. Business is important to our community, but theyre also protecting our residential neighborhood.
Tim Hickel, an attorney for Vilma Stewart, owner of Vilmas Signs, said they were disappointed in the decision.
As happens in these situations, at least in the testimony tonight, facts tend to go out the window, he said, adding Vilmas Signs couldnt expand because of being bordered by Interstate 5 and Military Road.
Were a little bit discouraged in a sense because Faison said dont get your hopes up, Hickel said. I hope they do try to work toward resolution.
Wayne Carlson, an urban planner for AHBL, a civil and structural engineering firm based in Tacoma representing Pats Plumbing, said they, too, were disappointed with the testimony neighbors gave the council.
Im disappointed by the gutter tactics, he said. They threw everything against the wall to see what would stick.
For example, he said, residents used a mistake on the application in which the businesses said they had sewer service when theyre actually on septic as proof of lies and deceit.
It was just an honest mistake, he said, adding sewer service is completely irrelevant to the issue.
Councilman Mike Park said he understood the plight of the business owners because he owned a non-conforming business in Seattle 20 years ago.
At the same time, I clearly hear the residents issues, he said.
Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org