Planning commission recommends Front Street land swap
November 19, 2020
The planning commission recommended unanimously last week that the borough assembly negotiate a land swap between the borough and Roger Schnabel.
Three lots on Front Street would change hands in an effort to provide a buffer between residential and commercial uses in the waterfront zone. Schnabel suggested the swap in September after withdrawing a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers permit to fill in tidelands for a boat storage facility. Area residents objected to the project citing a loss of tidelands, possible disturbance of cultural artifacts and that industrial activity would be too close to residential zoning. The planning commission also opposed the permit in comments to the Army Corp.
Schnabel’s intended use would still require a conditional use permit. The land in question would join adjacent property that Schnabel already owns and where the new Canal Marine facility is being built. The structure includes retail and office space and apartments. The R/V park will be expanded. The planning commission approved a conditional use permit for that project in June 2019.
Interim borough manager Alekka Fullerton outlined the benefits of the swap in a memo to planning commissioners. She said the property would become a buffer between commercial and residential uses, the proposed borough property would be better positioned as public use and beach access and would retain the original intention of borough land on the waterfront.
To exchange the land with Schnabel’s Highland Estates, the planning commission must classify the borough property for sale. The proposal can then be negotiated between the borough and Schnabel.
The commission recommended members to fill three seats up for reappointment during a ranking process after six residents applied. The rankings favored Jess Kayser Forster and Zack Ferrin. Former member Don Turner Junior and Scott Hansen tied for third place. The commissioners then voted to approve Hansen for recommendation. Brenda Josephson and Helen Alten also applied.
The recommendations will go before Mayor Douglas Olerud at the next regular assembly meeting.