The Gig Harbor City Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance Monday night that will change setbacks and building heights in waterfront Millville.
The ordinance only applies to residential Millville. Under the new regulation, building heights will be measured from the sidewalk, and homes will be able to be built up to the sidewalk.
Those rules already apply to commercial buildings in Millville.
Council members shared their opinions on the ordinance and explained their votes. The recent state-mandated Shoreline Master Plan update changed building setbacks.
Several council members saw the ordinance as a way to give back some building space to property owners on the water side of Millville.
“We took 35 feet from people and didn’t give them anything back,” council member Michael Perrow said. “This is a small give back.”
Rahna Lovrovich, the council’s newest member, said she originally was on the fence about the issue but attended meetings and open houses on the topic. She said the zoning in Waterfront Millville before the ordinance was tipped toward commercial interests. Approving the ordinance levels the playing field for residential and commercial property owners, she said.
Allowing residential property owners to build taller buildings is preferable to a Millville that is all commercial, Lovrovich said.
“Personally, if I’m walking down the street, I’d rather look at a house,” she said.
Lovrovich was sworn in at the beginning of the meeting.
The council also approved a $25,000 contract with artist Stuart Nakamira for a piece of public art at the Bogue Viewing Platform.
Charlee Glock-Jackson, vice chair of the Gig Harbor Arts Commission, spoke about the piece at the request of council member Tim Payne. The commission had asked for a public piece that would incorporate the Scandinavian culture and its place in Gig Harbor.
Out of a field of eight candidates, the commission selected Nakamira’s “Memory Vessel and Shield.”
“It just spoke to us on the deepest level of all the other applications,” Glock-Jackson said.