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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Vancouver City Council sends Fisher’s Quarry plan back to drawing board, cites lack of ‘housing variety’

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 10, 2022, 5:55pm

The master plan for an enormous development in the western half of Fisher’s Quarry in east Vancouver failed its first reading Monday, requiring staff to make alterations to earn the Vancouver City Council’s approval.

City staff had asked the city council to approve the Headquarters master plan at Fisher’s Quarry, but the approval was denied over concerns surrounding ambiguous language in the report.

Council member Sarah Fox said the council has previously said it wants  housing variety within the development. She said single-family lots could be subdivided to host duplexes or triplexes, but the ordinance as written did not clearly reflect whether it would be permitted, she said.

“There isn’t a variety of multifamily housing units being shown on the site at present,” Fox said.

Fox recommended that city staff amend Vancouver’s land use and development code to reflect this discussion.

Council members Diana Perez, Kim Harless and Ty Stober all agreed that the plan must extend beyond single-family housing to bolster residential density.

Plans for the retired mining site’s basalt quarries fall under the Riverview Gateway redevelopment plan, which was adopted by city council in 2009.

The western half of the quarry is anticipated to become a mixed-use community that sits north of state Highway 14 and along Southeast 192nd Avenue.

Fisher’s Quarry’s 99 acres will include space for light industrial, commercial and single- and multi-family residential buildings; in the mix, there will be a 120-room hotel and 6.5-acre park.

An 84-acre area on the eastern half of the site, the Columbia Palisades project, will feature mixed-use commercial and residential buildings.

Riverview Gateway’s central focus is to create “20-minute neighborhoods” where basic amenities are accessible to residents traveling on foot or bicycle. Neighborhoods and businesses would be linked by a network of multimodal trails and speckled with parks to promote livability and aging in place, according to a city staff report.

Residents in the surrounding Fisher’s Creek neighborhood told the council a northern portion of the development lot would create additional traffic and strain the neighborhood’s routes, according to previous reporting by The Columbian. The staff report noted there is capacity for this anticipated traffic increase.

Prior to the Monday city council meeting, the Planning Commission updated plan conditions in February. Recommendations included creating a mutual agreement between the applicant, Hurley Development, and C-Tran to serve the transit network and identify transit and multimodal design incentives.

Council members’ request for further clarity and substance pushed the first reading for an updated master plan to May 23. A public hearing will be held in June.

During the meeting, the city council also approved the first reading of a $138.4 million increase to its financial plan. The adjustments are made every year to reflect changes in revenue and expenditures following the adoption of the city’s biennial budget.

Vancouver’s operating budget would see a $45.9 million bump under the recommended change, specifically to touch on grant, facility and affordable housing cost adjustments and other updated appropriations. Capital projects would receive $92.5 million to address park and general projects, as well as water, wastewater and streets projects.

The second reading and public hearing for the supplemental budget is scheduled for May 16.

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Columbian staff writer