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Kent Council hikes scrutiny of developments

By Bob Gaetjens Staff Writer Published: May 18, 2017 4:00 AM

Some multifamily developments in Kent will be subject more scrutiny than in the past, which has some property owners pleased and others disappointed.

City Council voted 9-0 Wednesday to make multifamily developments a conditional use in R-4 (multifamily residential) and R-3A (extended high density residential) zoning areas, where they used to be permitted uses. The collection of three ordinances also revoked a temporary moratorium on new multifamily developments.

Resident Dennis Krupa said he's in favor of the change.

"I'm here to support the conditional zoning amendments, and the reason why I feel that way is it'll just give people a forum to speak," he said. "I see it as an instrument of government to encourage people to communicate. It will allow us to grow, I think, in a very humane way."

However, Horning Road resident Rudolph Butler said the new law has potential to affect his ability to sell his land for a fair price.

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He said he's surrounded on several sides by multifamily developments.

"You'll be making it almost impossible to get a decent price," he said, explaining no one is going to want to building single-family homes in an area surrounded by multifamily homes.

Maria Pizzino, who owns property on Holly Lane, also was upset by the plan, which she said would make it more difficult to build multifamily projects.

"It was purchased with the assurance that there would be development on that property," she said. "I feel that the measures that are being proposed are going to affect that purpose which was originally intended."

Nancy Pizzino, who co-owns land with Maria Pizzino, told council tax revenue could lag as a result of the law by preventing development.

"You are putting yourselves at odds with your own taxpayers," she said.

Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer said the requiring multifamily developments to seek conditional zoning approval would improve the planning process for multifamily projects.

"It's very important for people to have a say in development," she said.

Council member John Kuhar said the change should help the city in the long run.

"Being a landlord, this is tough for me, also," he said. "I think what we're trying to accomplish is to have a homogeneous city where everybody blends in. Hopefully, when it's all over, we'll have a well-sculpted city 20 or 30 years from now."


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