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Slopes ordinance changes delayed
Work on the citys contentious slopes ordinance was again delayed on
Wednesday, after extended discussion of other matters at the City Council
meeting left too little time for it.
Councilors considered moving the item to next Mondays special council meeting,
and even discussed sending it back to committee, before instead slating it
for the councils next regular meeting on Oct. 10.
The city last year amended the Geologically Hazardous section of the
Critical Areas Ordinance, adding a variance requirement for development in
unstable areas. The goal of the change was to improve safety, but planners,
geotechnical experts and some property owners say the new rules are too
restrictive and are tying up construction in areas that would pass scientific
The council is working on a new set of revisions including removing the variance requirement to maintain public safety while freeing up stalled projects.
Property owners living near slopes say they worry about
their safety and whether it be compromised in favor of development. They
disagree with several of the new revisions, including the ways in which
projects would be reviewed and the science on which the ordinance is based.
Questions also have been raised about the revision process.
Some property owners think it has moved too slow, needlessly delaying their
remodels; others believe its being rushed through without a thorough enough
The council in July voted unanimously to send the ordinance back to the Land
Use Committee. That meeting was scheduled to happen last week, before the
city canceled all committee meetings indefinitely due to ongoing scheduling
City Administrator Mary Jo Briggs said those issue have since been resolved,
meaning committee work can now resume.
Near the end of Wednesdays meeting, councilors struggled with how to
proceed. Councilman Kjell Stoknes said he didnt want to rush to finish the
work, since its a matter of public safety.
Im not in a hurry to get this done, he said.