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Town Council: American Legion upset about Friday Harbor's House Expansion plans

LWVSJ Observer Corps notes on Friday Harbor Town Council, June 20, 2024 meeting.

The mayor hoped that everyone had a chance to reflect on the Juneteenth holiday the day before. The Council passed the consent agenda which included signing a contract with a temporary hearing examiner who will hear the Home Trust appeal on the Holli Walk project. The Friday Harbor Arts Commission introduced newly appointed member David Anderson. 

The council approved the request to rezone the plot at 1032 Guard Street from commercial to multifamily residential and /non-residential and rezone it residential and change its designation on the land use map from non-residential to residential. 

The Council opened a public hearing on the Friday Harbor House Development Agreement for a major redesign of Friday Harbor House that will provide underground parking and add seven rooms. The key matters for Council approval in the agreement are deviations of side yard setbacks and lot coverage limits and compensating mitigations, and height. This is not a design approval. Along with the project, the developer will make major upgrades to Overlook Park. The variances are requested to allow a design more in line with the neighborhood. Members of the American Legion opposed the development agreement on the grounds that proposed expansion on the portion of the land below the Whale Museum will block harbor views from their parking area to the south from their building.

In the past the Legion post successfully sued to prevent building on that portion and an agreement was signed with the Port not to obstruct Legion views. The current owner purchased the property from the Port in 2019 and that agreement is not recorded in the title. The Whale Museum expressed concerns about the loss of harbors views from the rear of their building, the reduced visibility of murals on the exterior, and impacts from construction on the historic building and exhibits. The Council continued the hearing to July 18 to have more time to study the issue before further deliberation. 

The town superintendent reported that the SJI Fire District will use the town’s historic fire truck in the July 4th parade.

The town received one bid on the Marguerite project that came in within the engineer’s estimate.

The council will consider the contract at a special meeting on June 27. The town is applying for financing for a fourth water filter. The mayor and council members were given handouts of rules for the town during elections. 

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.

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