Sixty feet's the limit

The motion to send Highland Avenue height limits back to the planning commission died a silent death Wednesday, abruptly ending months of debate involving proposed condominiums for that area.

The failed motion essentially set the limits at 60 feet, upholding the council’s decision made more than three months ago.

“We’re pleased with that. It was the right thing to do,” said Claire Schrodt. She, husband Curt Lending and brother Shane Schrodt are among the handful of property owners on Highland and Pleasant Avenues who want to transform an acre of downtown land into condominiums.

But the thought of high-rise condos in what some consider an historic neighborhood has caused concern among those living there. The council received 12 letters on the subject that were entered into the record.

Bremerton City Councilwoman Wendy Priest, who lives on Highland, said the Nov. 30, 2005 decision to set heights at 60 feet shouldn’t have been made before design standards for the area were set.

As she understood it, each of the comprehensive plan’s neighborhood centers would have a subarea plan before any decisions were made.

“We really need to take a look at downtown as a whole, not just this neighborhood,” she said before making the motion.

The statement was met by silence from the other five councilors in attendance. Mike Shepherd, Nick Wofford and Dianne Robinson were absent.

At the Nov. 30 meeting, the planning commission recommended setting 40 foot height limits, replacing the 120 foot limits. The council heard from Shane Schrodt, who said a 40-foot height limit would have derailed their plans.

The council voted unanimously to set the height limits at 60-feet and enact a moratorium on new construction until design standards are developed.

The moratorium has been extended, the latest ending date scheduled for mid-April.

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