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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
News of Mason County, WA
December 11, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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December 11, 2014

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p~P. Page A-2 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 O By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncounty, cam The city of Shelton is con- sidering temporarily abandon- ing an ordinance that requires new homebuilders to build sidewalks so it won't have to set aside $60,000 for the pro- gram in 2015. The frontage improvement ordinance calls for develop- ers to pay for the installation of sidewalks in front of their properties, while the city pro- vides the engineering work and stormwater facilities. At a Shelton City Com- mission study session Mon- day, City Administrator Dave O'Leary asked for budget di- rection on frontage improve- ments. Placing a moratorium on the requirement is among the options, he said. Mayor Gary Cronce said he has always opposed the re- quirement. During a debate on the sidewalk standards Journal photo by Gordon Weeks The city of Shelton requires developers of in-fill lots to pay for sidewalks in front of new houses, which in some cases leave isolated 60-foot sidewalk "chunks" like this one on the 400 block of Harvard Avenue. in April 2013, Cronce argued that the requirements leave 60-foot "chunks" of sidewalk in neighborhoods, and the costs of the requirement discourage homebuilders from doing busi- ness in the city. Cronce echoed those senti- ments at Monday's meeting. "The city and the contrac- tors can't afford it, and we're not selling houses," Cronce said. It would be "hypocritical" to require new homebuilders to create the sidewalks if the city isn't pitching in with re- sources, he said. "If 3,000 houses came in, the whole plan would have worked," Cronce said. Reducing regulations will spur growth, he said. Commissioner Tracy Moore, who joined the commission af- ter the ordinance was passed, said she doesn't want the city to give up on creating side- walks. But she said she favors abandoning the policy for now as a budget decision. Commissioner Mike Olsen said the three commissioners agree on removing the project cost from the 2015 budget. O~Leary told the commis- sion the $60,000 for the pro- gram will be removed from the proposed budget, which could be passed on its first reading at the commission's meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. At Monday's work session, Shelton resident Tom Davis advised the commissioners to maintain the sidewalk re- quirements. %re worked hard for these frontage : regulations," Davis said. With connected side- walks, "pregnant women don't have to wheel down the gut- ters with their child," he said. But several real estate agents and homeowners told the com- mission they favor removing the sidewalk requirement. Kristy Buck of John L. Scott Real Estate in Shelton said the price of lots in the city is plum- meting to as low as $15,000 because homebuilders for the past dozen years are not buy- ing here. "At this moment in time, Shelton can't afford (the side- walk requirement)," she said. Shelton resident Andrew Spear, owner of Andrew Spear Construction, told the com- mission he supports placing a moratorium on the sidewalk requirement and halting the construction of "sidewalks to nowhere, which hasn't been successful ... You can't afford to build in the city right now." Come in and join us for BREAKFAST every SUNDAY morning. A full menu to choose from which includes coffee & juice. Everyone melcome. 9:00 am to 11:00 am 113 W. Cota, next to Huntington Glass Shelton 426-5060 * With meals or pie, through December Home Cooking Warm Atmosphere Open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondaythru l~riday RESTAURANT and GALLERY Since 1952 325 Railroad Avenue, Shehon 426-6143 NEW SKYBOXE$. MINUTES NORTH and Wok Teriyoki. Sushi, Noodles Wok Specials Thank you foranother successful year! 11 am- 9pm every day 3101 Olympic Hwy in Shelton 432-1000