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Will HR put ban on homes by water?

Planning commission urged to eliminate waterfront zones

The City of Hood River Planning Commission is looking into the prospect of restricting future residential development along the Hood River waterfront.

At the city council’s urging the planning commission placed the issue in its work session at its Sept. 17 meeting.

The commission is continuing to review options for how to approach development on the waterfront.

According to Planning Director Cindy Walbridge, every area of the waterfront which is zoned commercial or light industrial can be used as residential, provided that it has a density of 11 units per acre.

That would likely mean that any residential development of the waterfront would involve condominiums or apartments.

Hood River Mayor Arthur Babitz encouraged the planning commission to act on restricting residential development at the waterfront because he feared the possibility of rental condominiums which could be dark and vacant for large portions of the year.

“They are going to sit down and discuss it and hopefully come up with a solution,” Babitz said.

The mayor added he would prefer the waterfront be developed with the light industrial and commercial job creators that it is primarily zoned for.

“I don’t think filling up the waterfront with those is a good idea,” he said of the prospect of apartments or condominiums.

The request the planning commission received from the city is to look at the possibility of removing all residential zoning north of Interstate 84 and west of the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge.

Walbridge said another possibility the planning commission will consider is whether or not the waterfront can work with mixed uses, such as putting residential condos or apartments on top of commercial units.

The planning commission is likely to take up the issue again at its Oct. 1 meeting and Walbridge said there may be a staff report on the issue at that meeting as well.

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