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City proposes rezoning Greenwood Town Center to neighborhood commercial

The city’s Department of Planning and Development finally released its report on a proposal to rezone three areas in downtown Greenwood. The proposed zoning changes would have affected the Fred Meyer site on 85th Street, as well as surrounding residential streets. However, DPD’s report, released on Tuesday, proposes only moving forward with the rezone on the Fred Meyer site.
More than 100 neighbors gathered at an open house on June 29 to voice their opinions on the proposal, which included whether some surrounding residential streets should also be rezoned to allow for higher building limits.
The original idea was to rezone a 100-foot-deep swath across the street from Fred Meyer on NW 85th Street, NW 87th Street, and 3rd Avenue NW to allow for multi-family housing to provide a “step down” between the major development that Fred Meyer had proposed and the surrounding single-family neighborhood. Fred Meyer has since changed its mind about replacing the current store with a retail-residential development, and will instead do a down-to-the-studs remodel of the existing store, as well as the Greenwood Market building.

The comments at that June 29 meeting, and in an online survey, were overwhelming negative regarding the residential rezones. According to DPD’s report, more than 65 percent did not support rezoning Subarea 2 from Single-Family 5000 to allow for low-rise options.
And 61 percent did not support rezoning Subarea 3 from Neighborhood Commercial 40 to allow for heights of up to 65 feet.
The report says the city will “maintain future consideration” for rezoning those areas. For now, DPD proposes the City Council rezone Subarea 1 from car-oriented Commerical 1 with a 40-foot height limit to more pedestrian-oriented Neighborhood Commercial with a 65-foot height limit and a pedestrian zone overlay.
From the report:

This rezone represents an opportunity for a higher density, mixed‐use development including townhouses, condos, affordable apartments (required through incentive zoning with the height increase), that would be well‐supported in this area. DPD recommends increasing the height limit to 65 feet in order to encourage reuse of the site with housing while preserving the potential for retail tenants with high floor‐to‐ceiling heights to serve the neighborhood. Tall ground floors are usually a key driver for creating good retail space. Tenants, especially grocers, and developers typically need more than 40 feet of building height in order to
incorporate housing into a mixed use development. A height limit of 65 feet would maintain flexibility for a range of options in future redevelopment, while impacts from height, bulk and scale of a project can be mitigated through the design review process.

DPD will now work on an environmental determination to prepare legislation to rezone Subarea 1. After that there will be a three-week comment and appeal period before going to the City Council for a public hearing.