Monte adopts downtown standards

Though spirited debate was alive and strong to the very end, the opposition to proposed downtown development standards was greatly outnumbered within the council on Dec. 12.

The Montesano City Council approved new downtown standards with a 5-1 vote. Councilman Dan Wood cast the dissenting vote.

The downtown developmental standards now guide new businesses looking to develop in Montesano. Some areas of development the standards impact are signage (how big the signs can be depends on the type of building and where it’s located) and setbacks (how far back the building can be from the sidewalk), however there are many other standards imposed by the new rules.

Councilman Dan Wood said the standards conflict with the city’s municipal code. City attorney Chris Coker disagreed.

“What is the authority of the developmental standards?” Coker said. “The developmental standards are an expression of the council’s mindset as to what they would like downtown… These resolutions do not trump the (zoning) ordinances.”

Mayor Vini Samuel explained it as similar to a WAC (Washington Administrative Code). Whereas the city’s municipal code is like the state’s RCWs, the developmental standards are “an overlay,” like WAC.

The argument became circular with Councilman Wood disagreeing while Coker and Samuel attempted to restate their positions. Neither Wood, nor Samuel and Coker were swayed from their positions.

Mayor Samuel then asked if any of the other council members had any other issues with the standards. Following a long pause, she called for the vote.

Before the vote, Wood restated his opposition.

“The problem here is we’re adopting something that’s changing somebody’s right,” Wood said. “This is worth doing right, and I think we’re doing it wrong.”

Wood then asked that the standards be tabled until the January meeting. Wood’s motion did not receive a second.

Council members Kim Cristobal, Tyler Trimble, Ian Cope, Clint Bryson and Dave Skaramuca all voted for the standards.