Treat land owners the same, Galvin asks–and he’s right; give him his Docket Request hearing

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At the very end of the Council meeting last night (which eventually will be on the City’s website), John Galvin commented that while he favors action to keep Ace Hardware in business, the expedited approach and focus on Ace raised concerns over fairness and treatment of his Southeast Town Center project, and the Docket Request for increased density.

Staff recommended denial of his Docket Request, and it recommended denial of the Ace Hardware docket request. (More on this in an upcoming post.)

Setting aside for the moment that the community turned out in droves in support of Ace and nobody other than the landowners in the SE quadrant has turned out in support of Galvin, and that Ace owner Tim Koch is respectful and Galvin is a poster child for anger management requirements, this time Galvin is right. (See his appearance during the two hour public comment section of the same Council meeting.)

The Council should override the Staff recommendation and send the Docket Request to the Planning Commission for consideration.

In 2009, Galvin and his fellow landowners submitted a Docket Request to upsize the commercial allocation from 90,000 to “up to” 300,000 sf, plus some density increase, in the SE Quadrant of the Town Center. The Council rejected the application and in my view properly so. The Town Center plan hadn’t even been completed in September 2009, when Galvin submitted the Docket Request and regulations hadn’t been adopted when the Council rejected the request.

This is three years later. Galvin and his colleagues have asked for reconsideration of the 2009 Docket Request, along with a host of changes to regulations.

Equal treatment to the Ace proposal is a consideration worthy of thought, in my view. Galvin’s group has waited another three years to resubmit, and circumstances have changed dramatically since 2009. The economy tanked and pretty much killed financing. Regency, the owner of the Safeway, Radio Shack and QFC complexes, doesn’t give a damn about local business and is driving them out, one after another, in favor of national chains. Local businesses are going out of business because there isn’t other commercial space in the City.

Secondly, Galvin is also right: they’ve waited long enough for consideration of their Docket Request. He and his fellow landowners deserve a fair hearing. Giving them one doesn’t mean any or some or all of their requests will be approved. But making them wait until the 2015 Comp Plan rewrite is unfair.

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