With a 5-0 vote on the evening of July 12, members of the White Salmon Planning Commission approved a legislative amendment that paves the way for cottage housing clusters in White Salmon.
According to Planning Commission Chair John Mayo, the alterations to the city's residential zoning rules will enable the city to allow "planned unit developments" in the form of cottage housing.
"These amendments are narrow and won't affect most of the city's zoning," Mayo explained. "It will allow cottage housing instead of everything being townhomes."
Mayo contends that townhouses are not the best answer for new housing in the White Salmon area.
"They have a line of garages and front doors, and everybody's house looks the same," Mayo commented. "Cottage development offers more of a natural neighborhood."
"This will create the opportunity for a demonstration project that will explore benefits of providing for different kinds of housing density and types than provided for already," explained consultant Dotty DeVaney, head of DeVaney Consulting, Inc., who was hired by the city to revise the city's zoning regulations.
Before the Planning Commission's recommendations can be wrapped into the city's zoning codes, the White Salmon City Council will need to approve the legislation.
DeVaney said there will be a workshop to discuss the zoning amendments with the White Salmon City Council on July 26, and a public hearing on the zoning package is tentatively set for Aug. 2.
Mayor Roger Holen said he was glad to hear the Planning Commission had approved the zoning legislation.
"We should have done this a long time ago," Holen said. "In fact, all of our zoning ordinances need an update, and this is part of that project. This is the basis for any planned unit development. It gives the city more flexibility, and also provides a mechanism for the city to maintain controls over development."
"We're excited to have approved the language and at least have the opportunity for the City Council to review what has been proposed," Mayo said.