What’s Next For The Arches?

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Ben Freeland has been making the rounds lately, discussing the future of The Arches development project on the Moss Marina property. Freeland has been meeting individually with Town Council members and others to feel them out on what might be an approvable project on that property.

Earlier this month, after getting word that a proposed ordinance for a Future Land Use Map Amendment was not going to pass, the Freeland Group pulled the item from the Town Council agenda at the last minute. Freeland needs the Map Amendment Change in order to move forward with The Arches project. Prior to the Town Council meeting, in April, by a vote of 4-2, the Local Planning Agency denied Freeland’s request. Despite LPA denial the process allows any applicant to roll the dice on a Town Council vote. Freeland decided to go to the Town Council to try to get a more favorable vote but pulled back a day before the Town Council meeting when it was clear the Map Amendment was not going to pass.

While Freeland needs that Future Land Use Development Map Amendment to move forward with The Arches project, they are also going through the CPD process. The CPD process is a detailed, time-consuming process that developers apply for if they’re going to ask for anything that does not fit neatly into the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. Freeland said they pulled Map Amendment in order to bring it forward at the same time as the CPD. Something LPA members and the Town Council were perplexed they didn’t do to begin with. They wanted to see exactly what’s being applied for within the CPD before they approved any zoning change.

The Arches plan on the table now consists of 3 hotels totaling 400 rooms, a 1,000-foot long community bay walk, a marina, bars, restaurants and shopping. And while the LPA’s Map Amendment denial was not a vote on The Arches project, it was clear LPA members – and some Town Council members – have concerns with the size of the project. When Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt publicly announced on Beach Talk Radio that he would vote no on the Map Amendment change if the project came forward as big as proposed now, that turned the tide against the current proposal.

There have been no changes to The Arches project submitted to the town. There are no new drawings to look at. However the discussions taking place do involve a possible downsizing of the project. How much smaller does Freeland need to go in order to get the LPA and Town Council closer to a yes? Nobody really knows, however, the number of rooms being discussed is closer to 200 than the 400 rooms now in the plan.

Freeland can also choose to stick with his full-service marina on the property, which has been a thriving, successful business for decades. A lot of time, effort, and money has already been put into the current project.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Are there any Sunshine Law rules that apply to so called “daisy chaining”, where a developer meets with each council member separately? Anr transparency on those meetings.

    • We sure could use some transparency and sunlight –
      Town council went on record 6 months ago agreeing with the people-
      Stick to original Comp plan
      Now these same folks are negotiating away towns future?
      These proposed monstrosities are all on a factor of 10 x larger than previous – cubic space and materials construction needed.

      • Voting to stay with the comp plan doesn’t mean a property owner cannot go through the CPD process, which is what Moss is doing. Council has not “negotiated away the town’s future” — this project has not yet gone before the LPA/TC, much less been approved.

        Homeowners can also go through a similar process, an RPD. It’s what EIBC is going through now.

  2. Love Moss Marina, but this is WAY TOO MANY UNITS! Why do most of these developers think this island can handle all the additional people and traffic? OH WAIT, they don’t care, they’ll just get their money and move on to the next project and leave us all in a traffic and infrastructure nightmare.

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