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LFP Council Puts Moratorium on Southern Gateway Permits

A moratorium is a tool available in land use law to allow a local government to temporarily place development “on hold” when there is concern that development pressure may interrupt the planning process

Editor's note: The following report comes from the City of Lake Forest Park.

Expressing a desire to see its planning process through to the end, the Lake Forest Park City Council passed a moratorium at its August 23 regular meeting on acceptance and processing of permits in much of its Southern Gateway sub-area.

In a presentation on the proposed action, City Attorney Bob Sterbank explained that moratorium is a tool available in land use law to allow a local government to temporarily place development “on hold” when there is concern that development pressure may interrupt the planning process and development of land use regulations to implement the plan. The action impacts approximately 15-20 acres.

Since the 4th quarter of 2011, the Lake Forest Park Planning Commission has been working with MAKERS Architecture and Design to develop a vision and land use plan for the area along the SR 522 southern entrance into the City. The types of things being considered are the interface with the existing neighborhood, public gathering options, green space, street standards, parking, and traffic circulation. Councilmember Don Fiene also cited a long-standing discussion of increased retail opportunities and the need for variety of housing types and sizes to make it possible for Lake Forest Park citizens to stay in town when their housing needs change.

The Planning Commission, staff and consultants have developed a base plan and are in the environmental impact statement phase of the process. Once these phases are done, it will be reviewed by the public and City Council and, if approved by the City Council, moved to a final phase to develop land use regulations consistent with the new plan. The budget authorized $75,000 to support this process. Councilmember John Wright noted, “We have made a substantial investment in time and money to get to this point. I would like to protect the end of the process.”

The moratorium was passed as an emergency ordinance and will last up to six months. The law requires a public hearing on it within 60 days and an adoption of findings by the City Council to explain the need for it. A public hearing was set for September 27, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the Lake Forest Park City Hall.

Additional Info on the Southern Gateway Planning.

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