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Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Stanwood seeks input on zoning

STANWOOD -- The City Council asks people to attend a public hearing tonight about proposed zoning regulations that could change the way downtown Stanwood might evolve.
The idea is that developers of the area between the historic districts of east and west Stanwood would be encouraged to replicate the look of businesses in those older districts.
The front doors of new shops, restaurants and offices would open to covered public sidewalks, and parking would be located at the side or rear of buildings.
However, not wanting to discourage any economic development, the City Council is proposing some flexibility in the zoning changes. Entrances could be located on the sides of buildings, adjacent to parking lots.
"The question became, would new commercial and retail businesses be attracted to this vision of a consistent, urban look, or be discouraged by the code requirements?" said city administrator Deborah Knight. "Nobody can look into a crystal ball, so the city is proposing that, at the least, new development would include a lush, landscaped feel with pedestrian walkways."
The "landscaped feel" might include architectural features instead of blank walls, awnings over walkways, pedestrian benches and lots of plants.
Those who choose to adopt the historical feel of old Stanwood in their developments would be rewarded with some incentives, Knight said. Details are yet to be worked out, she said.
"We hope people will come to the meeting and tell us what they think," she said.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.
Meeting tonight
Stanwood City Council, 7 tonight, school district board room, 26920 Pioneer Highway. More information about the proposed zoning changes is on the city website, www.ci.stanwood.wa.us.

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