River Views Property

River views, property rights compete in downtown Astoria – Every day Astorian

Astoria had almost completed drafting code amendments for the City Core, the ultimate part of the Riverfront Imaginative and prescient Plan guiding improvement alongside the Columbia River. However a heated debate over a proposed Fairfield Inn & Suites prompted many to rethink improvement requirements alongside the waterfront and put the downtown modifications on ice.

Now town, largely completed with different parts of Riverfront Imaginative and prescient Plan, is dismissing pointers for the City Core that attempt to strike a steadiness between a public wanting river views and personal property homeowners wanting flexibility to develop.



Steve Fick

Steve Fick owns Fishhawk Fisheries and a historic constructing on the finish of Fourth Road. He stated his freedom to develop shall be restricted beneath the proposed codes for City Core.



The City Core runs alongside the waterfront between Second and 16th streets. The plan anticipates a mixture of business, residential and water-dependent makes use of with denser improvement, whereas nonetheless offering river views.

Rosemary Johnson, a metropolis planning advisor, lately refreshed the Astoria Planning Fee on the City Core prematurely of a public listening to on Tuesday. Commissioners would advocate code modifications to the Metropolis Council, which might maintain public hearings beginning in November, with potential adoption as quickly as December.

The code modifications would largely limit new improvement over the water to the highest of the riverbank, with quite a few limitation zones over undeveloped piling fields and present piers between buildings. The town met with property homeowners and purposely positioned limitations on areas unlikely for additional improvement, Johnson stated.

“We mentioned their plans, what was happening, in order that we have been making an attempt to take heed to the property homeowners, who had some rights, plus the residents,” she stated. “We’ve competing pursuits there, and we’ve got to have a look at each.”

In between are nonlimitation areas — largely present buildings — the place heights can be restricted to 28 toes, or 35 toes if the constructing’s width is lowered. Buildings allowed over water can be restricted to four,000 sq. toes and the lesser of 150 toes extensive or 60% of lot protection. The town would require 40-foot view corridors in between buildings and a few type of public entry to the riverfront.

The peak requirements can be related on land inside 100 toes of the Astoria Riverwalk. Buildings elsewhere in City Core might rise to 45 toes in the event that they embody multifamily inexpensive housing and a plaza, courtyard or different public gathering spot. The codes would protect an 80-foot-wide swath of land alongside the Riverwalk — 70 toes alongside avenue rights of manner — and require a minimum of a 10-foot stepback for every extra constructing story.

“It lets daylight down,” Johnson stated. “It offers an airier feeling than that tunnel impact.”

Final new lodge?

A few of the extra controversial language comes within the limitation of makes use of for buildings over water, the place new houses, bars, resorts, workplaces and medical amenities can be prohibited. Lodges and motels can be a conditional use over land elsewhere within the City Core.



New Hotel

A brand new boutique lodge is being constructed on the Astoria Riverwalk between Eighth Road and Ninth Road amid potential code modifications.



A notable exception is the $5.5 million, 39-room boutique lodge already accepted and being constructed inside a former fish-processing plant subsequent to Buoy Beer. The mission, tentatively named the Bowline Lodge, is a partnership between the brewery, Adrift Lodge and different traders. It could possibly be the final new lodge accepted on the central waterfront.

The political local weather has modified because the upheaval over the Fairfield Inn & Suites, a mission that prompted town to revise the Bridge Vista part of the Riverfront Imaginative and prescient Plan and additional limit improvement.

“I’ve combined emotions,” Tiffany Turner, a co-owner of Adrift, stated. “I respect and perceive the necessity to develop correctly, and I believe Astoria is basically grappling with that in an genuine and great way.”

Different property homeowners, like Steve Fick, who owns a small seafood processing operation on a pier on the foot of Fourth Road, discover the proposed restrictions in City Core too limiting. The code modifications, he believes, might slim choices and damage property values in a altering enterprise setting.

Fick additionally owns a historic brick constructing on the foot of Fourth Road the place he’s constructing out a distillery.

“I would like my flexibility to be maintained as it’s,” he stated. “And actually at this level, anything to me is unacceptable. I’ve paid my taxes for over 30 years on the potential to do various things at this place.”

Fick was a part of the Planning Fee when the Riverfront Imaginative and prescient Plan first got here up a decade in the past and stated commissioners on the time had a extra balanced strategy. He sees hypocrisy within the new lodge accepted three blocks to the east whereas town gained’t permit him or different waterfront property homeowners the identical proper, or within the metropolis not permitting makes use of like skilled and medical workplaces that would offer the earnings to take care of waterfront buildings.

Fick plans to arrange property homeowners to share their issues throughout public hearings.

“I’m going to attempt to assist folks perceive I wish to protect the integrity of the city,” he stated. “People who have the accountability of caring for the waterfront want the earnings to maintain it.”

‘Anyplace, USA’

Johnson understands the troublesome steadiness. However one of many largest belongings of Astoria — economically and aesthetically — is the flexibility to see the Columbia River from land, in contrast to in lots of different cities, she stated. It’s an argument she stated she has made with hoteliers wanting to construct on the waterfront.

“Having improvement that respects our character, and respects that want for that view of the river, is what we’re on the lookout for,” Johnson stated. “As a result of if we lose who we’re, we’re going to be Anyplace, USA.”

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