Community News

The City Council has okayed revisions to the city’s development regulations, but postponed a decision on large-scale retail development in the commercial marine zone south of Cap Sante Marina and east of Q and R avenues.

The Council Monday night turned back a proposal to lift a 50,000 square foot limit on individual retail projects in the CM1 zone in favor of allowing a total cap of of 100,000 square feet for retail space in that zone.

Complicating the discussion was a last-minute proposal from the Council’s Planning Subcommittee to raise the 50,000 square foot limit to 75,000 square feet and to place a 150,000 squre foot cap on total retail space in the CM1 zone.

The Council decided to study the large-scale retail issue further next year.

During discussion, Council member Nick Petrish wanted to postpone a decision to increase retail limits, saying “I’m confused; I want to see a complete proposal without any red lines.”

Council member Cynthia Richardson, who chairs the Planning Subcommittee, said “We felt that raising slightly the size of individual stores and the total cap was appropriate.” 

But, Erica Pickett said “‘We would like to wait on this decision until we have a checklist” that can be used for allowing large-scale retail as a conditional use in the commercial marine zone.

Kevin McKeown urged delaying a decision on large-scale retail. “There has to be the right retail in the right scale. We don’t need to rush this.”

Council member Bill Turner said “We need choices here. I don’t want people to continue to go to Burlington” to shop.

City Planning Director Ryan Larsen tried to compare store sizes, saying the Anacortes Safeway store is about 48,000 square feet, the Burlington Target is 87,000 square feet and Costco is 148,000 square feet in size.

Also in the package the Council approved Monday night was permanent regulations limiting development in Old Town.

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