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Assemblyman Joe Blanchard: Loosen rules for downtown Fairbanks

Posted: April 2, 2011 - 10:11pm

FAIRBANKS — After Fairbanks officials rejected new zoning standards for the city’s downtown for being too restrictive, an assemblyman says he will propose a more inclusive development ordinance that he hopes will encourage the construction of more parking lots.

Assemblyman Joe Blanchard told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that a major difference in his proposal will be that his ordinance would list businesses that are prohibited, rather than listing only those that are allowed. He said the plan, which he expected to be ready by June, will be more inclusive.

Bernardo Hernandez, director of community planning for the borough, said the goal of zoning is to encourage compatible uses, so it’s usually easier to list things that work together rather than things that don’t.

“It’s very difficult to exclude all those things you couldn’t even think of that wouldn’t be compatible ... like dog teams, nuclear power plants,” he said.

Blanchard said he knows his proposal breaks with procedures for zoning, “but I think we want this downtown zone to be as inclusive as possible.”

“If you want to build a car wash downtown, people might come downtown to get their car washed,” he said.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly on Thursday had rejected new zoning standards, the second recent defeat for supporters of Vision Fairbanks to put into effect a long-term development plan.

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