The Lewiston City Council formally adopted a new chapter to its comprehensive land use plan Monday night that officially aligns development regulations around the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport with Federal Aviation Administration rules.
Interim Airport Manager Clarence W. “Bill” McKown attended the council meeting to ask the council to consider postponing adoption until early next year, after the airport authority board is able to hire a permanent manager. The board expects to conduct interviews with finalists Jan. 6 and make a selection later that week.
But after some back and forth with the council and Jacqui Gilbert from the city Community Development Department, McKown conceded that passage Monday wouldn’t adversely affect airport plans or operations.
City Manager Alan Nygaard said the FAA already has rules governing certain aspects of development around the airport, such as building and landscaping height restrictions that increase safety for aircraft. Adding an airport chapter to the comprehensive plan is simply another way for developers to become aware of those rules and plan accordingly, Nygaard said.
Gilbert noted that having the chapter also puts the city in line with state law. A public hearing before the 5-1-1 council vote to adopt the chapter attracted no comments. City Councilor Bob Blakey was absent from Monday’s meeting, while Councilor Ged Randall voted against adoption so the new airport manager could provide input. Randall’s motion later in the evening to table the vote until February failed when no one seconded it.
In other business, the council adopted an amendment to regulations in the so-called “form and impact based zone” in downtown Lewiston that allows a public art committee to be formed on an ad-hoc basis, rather than requiring the formation of a standing committee.
City planning officials designed the zone to incentivize certain types of development. It awards points toward the issuance of a building permit for certain construction elements, like maximizing the use of property and providing for amenities like public art. The art committee will evaluate proposals for artworks to be included with future development, but City Planner Joel Plaskon told the council that those services probably won’t be needed very often, so an ad-hoc committee made the most sense.
The committee will include members from the Beautiful Downtown Lewiston economic development group, the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts and History and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. The council added a line in its action Monday to include an at-large position from the community on the committee.
Councilors also took a step forward in the process to rebuild Bryden Avenue with the unanimous approval of an agreement with the state of Idaho for design work, even though construction is potentially a decade away.
The $500,000 from the Idaho Transportation Department and a $25,000 match from the city will be used to complete design of roadway and intersection improvements between Fourth and Seventh streets, one of the most accident-prone stretches in the city.
Designers will consider creating a five-lane roadway with new or upgraded signals at Fifth and Seventh streets, and improved intersection geometry at Fourth Street. Disabled access, sidewalks, bike crossings, stormwater and utility impacts will also be considered in the design, according to the city.
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