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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Vancouver extends warehouse project moratorium

City focuses on gathering input, developing codes

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 6, 2023, 4:37pm

The Vancouver City Council Monday night extended its moratorium on new large warehouse projects, ensuring a pause on the construction of such projects within the city through the end of this year.

The council held the second and final hearing on the ordinance after a city staff presentation last month and unanimously approved the extension after city staff requested an additional six-month pause. The initial moratorium was put in place last fall.

“Extending the moratorium will allow for more time to study the differences in physical and operational characteristics between large e-commerce warehouse facilities and more traditional wholesale warehouses so we can develop code amendments that address any identified impacts and seek additional public input,” Chad Eiken, community development director for the city, said in a May email.

The moratorium applies to almost all warehouse facilities greater than 250,000 square feet — about the size of three soccer fields. There are exceptions for certain sectors that provide high levels of employment and for the Port of Vancouver.

The city’s plan was to request an extension from the beginning, according to Eiken. State law allows land use moratoriums for up to six months with one six-month extension if necessary. The second moratorium will focus on gathering public input and developing code amendments.

Business groups have expressed their disapproval of the warehouse moratorium, including several individuals who spoke Monday night against the moratorium extension.

“I firmly believe that extending the moratorium would have a detrimental effect on the local economy and hinder the growth and development in the city,” Nick Massie, a member of Southwest Washington Contractors Association’s advocacy and advisory committee, said at the hearing.

Massie said the city has very few parcels that could accommodate such large warehouses, meaning that the moratorium might be doing more harm than good.

Massie commended the city staff for reaching out to developers to obtain feedback and thanked the city council for amending the moratorium in February so it did not apply to warehouses between 100,000 square feet and 250,000 square feet in size.

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Columbian staff writer