Council balks at changes in residential rules

MARYSVILLE Presented by the administration as a housekeeping change, the Marysville City Council balked at relaxing rules requiring recreational space be part of residential developments in the city.
At their meeting Dec. 10, the Council remanded the proposed change back to the Marysville Planning Commission. City Community Development Director Gloria Hirashima had suggested the change at a previous Council session.
Developers currently are required to set aside a certain portion of their property for open or recreational space when completing multi-family residential projects in the city.
Hirashima said the requirement could be a burden on smaller developments, costing property owners space that could be put toward profitable residential use.
Instead of setting aside physical recreation space, Hirashima suggested the city allow developers to make donations supporting existing Marysville parks.
There was a little discomfort with that, said Councilman Jon Nehring. We just wondered if we wanted to put that in.
Nehring noted once a development is completed, the opportunity for creating recreational space is lost.
Councilman Jeff Seibert led the charge against the proposed change. When Hirashima first suggested the change, Seibert said its possible to drive down certain Marysville streets and see children playing in those streets, a situation he wasnt comfortable with. He also expressed fears developers might begin taking an almost automatic pass on creating new recreational space, finding writing a check to the city easier and cheaper.
Hirashima said the space considerations could be serious enough to cause some developers to walk away from projects, referring to residential development on smaller lots in downtown Marysville. The city recently hired a consultant to complete a year-long study aimed at revitalizing the downtown area. Hirashima and others said residential development ultimately could be a key to downtown growth. Nehring said to his knowledge, no one recently had approached the city with plans for residential construction downtown.
While Hirashima suggested several changes to various city codes, only one other issue publicly attracted the attention of the Council. Seibert initially objected to altering landscaping setback requirements for businesses along I-5 and other state routes in the city. Hirashima suggested changing the setbacks from 20 to 15 feet, stating businesses greatly covet the visibility provided by major roadways and want their buildings as close to those streets as possible.
Seibert expressed fears the change in setbacks could hurt Marysville in the long run should officials ever decide to expand the roadways in question. Hirashima and others argued ample right-of-ways and setbacks already exist along both I-5 and most state routes.
In the end, Council apparently accepted those arguments. According to Nehring, the setback change was adopted without comment at the Dec. 10 Council session.

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