Michael Harthorne
The Department of Planning and Development's Andrea Petzel, councilmember Sally Clark, council staff Ketil Freeman and councilmember Tim Burgess discuss how a looming rezone could affect Limback Lumber March 31. CLICK IMAGE FOR MAPS OF THE REZONE AREAS.

Clark, Burgess tour Ballard rezone areas

On March 31, city councilmembers Sally Clark and Tim Burgess toured the three areas of the Ballard urban village that are facing a rezone to get an impression of the areas before a possible April 2 vote.

Clark, who chairs the council's Committee on the Built Environment, said one of the purposes of the tour was to look at what businesses are on the land now and whether they would be allowed to stay there under a zoning change.

"I'm really cautious about that," Clark said. "Suddenly the map changes under you and the rules are very different for what you can do on the property."

In September, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development proposed a rezone of three industrial areas in Ballard.

The city planned to rezone Subarea 1, a section along the north side of Market Street from 25th Avenue Northwest to 30th Avenue Northwest, from an Industrial Buffer zone to a Neighborhood Commercial zone, which could include housing, office space and retail.

In December, the Ballard District Council sent a letter to Clark asking her not to allow Neighborhood Commercial in that area as it would lead to conflicts over light and noise with industrial businesses on the south side of Market Street.

Clark said the plans have been changed to leave a large portion of Subarea 1 as an Industrial Buffer zone or change it to an Industrial Commercial Zone, which allows mixed industry and office space.

There are two small areas on the eastern edge of Subarea 1 that the city is still debating changing to a Neighborhood Commercial zone, Clark said.

During the tour, Andrea Petzel from the Department of Planning and Development said Neighborhood Commercial would be great in that area if people could get used to the fact that there will be potential noise from industrial businesses.

Petzel said residents understand that there will be noise in industrial areas a lot better than industry representatives give them credit for. Industries are operating out of fear of noise complaints, she said.

Clark said the challenge is to ensure the right zoning for the future if the current businesses go away but to do nothing to force them to go away.

She said the city doesn't want to put new neighbors in an industrial area who don't understand what that means.

The rezone plan calls for changing Subarea 2, the south side of Market Street between 26th Avenue Northwest and 30th Avenue Northwest, from General Industrial to Industrial Commercial.

Subarea 3, both sides of Leary Avenue between 15th Avenue Northwest and 20th Avenue Northwest, would also be changed to Industrial Commercial.

Clark said there has not been any large changes or issues stemming from the rezones of those subareas since they were originally proposed.

The Committee on the Built environment will discuss the Ballard rezone April 2, when it could possibly vote on it. But, Clark said the members of the committee may want to further discuss the changes, especially what to do with the two sections on the east side of Subarea 1.

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