The article about Orting in yesterday's News Tribune sounds like a mirror image of the discussions Ruston had a couple of years ago. Orting is considering reducing its parking requirements and allowing taller buildings in its downtown as a way to encourage development.
Ruston reduced its parking requirements a couple of years ago and allowed some increase in buildng height along Pearl and 51st Street. The planning commission has recommended 45 feet height in this block (to match Tacoma on the other side of the street), but when the issue reached the council they reduced it to 35 feet.
Orting is motivated, in part, by a new development area not far from its downtown that is not as restrictive, making it more attractive for developers. City leaders want to make sure their existing downtown remains competitive. That too sounds similar to Ruston. With the Point Ruston retail core on the horizon, it could have a impact on the existing businesses up the hill. The Point Ruston businesses will be a wonderful addition, but perhaps its time to revisit the issue and ensure our current business core has the tools to keep all of Ruston going strong.
What do you think? What things would help the current business core? What role, if any, should the town take in balancing these two business areas?