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Wide range of businesses could be banned from Aurora Ave.

 An emergency declaration seeks to ban a wide range of businesses from setting up shop along a stretch of Aurora Avenue in the coming year. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – An emergency declaration seeks to ban a wide range of businesses from setting up shop along a stretch of Aurora Avenue in the coming year.

Seattle wants to undertake a major makeover of the corridor between 85th and 110th streets, with the idea to make it more vibrant and walkable. However, places like drive-through restaurants don't fit that plan. The same goes for car dealerships, as well as storage yards and car dealerships.

To help promote an urban village model of future growth, Councilmember Debora Juarez said neighbors need the land preserved for housing and pedestrian-oriented development. She has since called for an emergency vote to initiate a temporary, one-year ban on allowing these types of businesses to get a city permit.

“I would like to walk to the services that come with an urban village that are similar to Ballard and Lake City,” said Ryan DiRaimo, a member of Aurora Licton Urban Village and a supporter of Juarez’s proposal.

However, some merchants say the moratorium is a mismatch for the neighborhood.

“This is not a cutesy little neighborhood street. This is a major highway,” said Faye Garneau, the executive director of Aurora Avenue Merchants Association.

Garneau pointed out that car dealerships actually make money for the city, and believes that prohibiting new ones is misguided.

“It's a very prosperous street and it contributes a great deal to the tax base of this city," Garneau said.

Moratorium supporters said there are other ways to achieve those goals.

“Smaller retail shops, coffee shops, restaurants, small businesses. they actually employ more than what an industrial type zoning does,” DiRaimo said.

Juarez said the Aurora corridor will be re-zoned anyway in the coming year or two and her moratorium serves to bridge that time-span.

Juarez said limiting the types of businesses is a way to "not lose too much development capacity" with projects that ultimately "are incompatible with the vision for that neighborhood."

The temporary business ban is set for a final vote on Monday afternoon. No existing businesses or those now in the permitting process would be affected.

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