04/05/2018: "Town Continues Life Care Rezone To May"
(Bill Giesy addresses members of the Town Council -IG photo)
Bill Giesy, as an agent for Friday Harbor Medical Investors, LLC, appeared before the Friday Harbor Town Council Thursday (04-05-18) in support of an application for a rezone of the former Life Care property. If granted it would allow a hotel. If granted, the rezone request would still allow use as a convalescence center, as well as any other permitted use.
There is a Multi-Family property to the north, and Commercial properties to the east and west. Properties to the south are a combination of Light Industrial and Commercial.
The Town staff report states, and it was highlighted to the Town Council members, that “To support a rezone, the proposed change must bear a substantial relation to the public health, safety orals, or general welfare. and be in accord with three requirements to be approved by the Town:
1) Rezones are not presumed valid;
2) the proponent of a rezone must demonstrate that there has been a change in circumstances since the original zoning; and
3) the rezone must have a subs substantial relationship to the public health, safety,
morals, or general welfare.
Friday Harbor resident David Balmer MD. MPH, was one of nineteen members of the public who had submitted written comment to the council. In his letter he stated his concerns that because there has been a 39%: increase in the over 65yr old population in San Juan county, that “additional construction, increasing the capacity for seasonal accommodation for visitors does not appear to be of superior benefit to out community.”
Juniper Maas Mercer also wrote in, commenting on the need to not move too fast in assuming that that there is no interest in re-starting the building as an elder care facility, noting that she personally knew someone who had come to make an offer on the building for use as a care center, only to find out it was already under contract.
The members of the council were split in support and opposition to the request, and one member was absent.
It was suggested the hearing be extended to May 3rd so that there would be a full council in attendance, and there would be time for Mr. Giesy to present a well reasoned case as to why and how the granting of the rezone would “have a substantial relationship to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare” for the community.
The Council left the question of allowing additional public comment open, but it appeared that the hearing may be open to additional comments.