Pull a thread in Uniontown and there’s a chance the whole tapestry of new and historic businesses and homes that form the city’s western gateway will start to unravel, some property owners warn.
Chief among people’s concerns are what a new draft master plan could do to the area’s parking.
The Astoria Planning Commission took its first stab at establishing a long-term vision for Uniontown on Tuesday night, scrutinizing a draft master plan that attempts to integrate transportation and land use goals.
The plan outlines a number of proposals and goals, including major lane reconfigurations, a new overlay zone to guide design and development decisions, lighting improvements and the addition of sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Business and property owners who attended the meeting said they felt their concerns have been heard throughout the process, but they say they’re entering a new phase now: The “what can we afford to lose” phase, where benefits to one side of the equation could create issues on the other side.
“No matter what, you kind of have to lose some stuff to gain something else,” said Diana Kirk, who owns Workers Tavern, as well as housing, in Uniontown.
Some road changes could diminish available parking along Marine Drive. Remove these parking spots and there’s a ripple effect, said Nancy Montgomery, the owner of the building that houses Columbia River Coffee Roaster and 3 Cups Coffee House under the Astoria Bridge.
“The load on existing parking down there is already overtaxed,” Montgomery said. Some businesses rely entirely on off-street parking and have no lots of their own.
The plan identifies the need to create public parking areas in unused or underutilized lots
On Tuesday, City Manager Brett Estes asked to continue the public hearing on the draft master plan until a future meeting. Staff wanted time to clarify aspects of the plan and accompanying code language to address questions and concerns brought up by commissioners and residents and businesses.
Work on the Uniontown Reborn Master Plan began in 2017 at the direction of the City Council. Planning and public meetings with consultants and stakeholders began in earnest last year and have continued this year. A stakeholder advisory committee was also established to guide discussions and identify issues.