Letter from ACE to Edmonds City Council: Take a formal vote to reject Port’s Harbor Square plan
The following letter was sent Aug. 23 to the Edmonds City Council, and was posted here with permission from the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds:
At the August 15 meeting of the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE), we unanimously agreed to recommend that the Council formally vote to reject the Port of Edmonds Harbor Square Master Plan. This will officially remove it from the legislative action in which it currently resides. We also note that there are many more citizens within and outside of our organization that have serious concerns with several aspects of the Ports’ plan. And, so long as multiple plans remain in the process, this confuses them even more.
The City Attorney has stated that, although the Port advised the City that it was withdrawing its proposal, it was still in the legislative process and Council could act on it at any time, irrespective of the Port’s stated withdrawal.
Mr. Taraday agreed the plan was withdrawn but the Port’s withdrawal of the application does not prevent the Council from continuing to process the Harbor Square Master Plan; it also does not foreclose the possibility of the Council adopting exactly what the Port proposed. Even though the Port has withdrawn their application, the Port began a legislative process by applying for a Comprehensive Plan amendment; once that legislative process has begun, it resides at the City Council until the Council takes action. The Council could ultimately decide, 1) they like the Port’s original submission, 2) they like elements of the Port’s original submittal but want to revise other elements, 3) deny the plan in its entirety, or 4) acknowledge the withdrawal of the application and decide to cease processing the application as a result of that withdrawal. July 30, 2013, City Council Approved Minutes
When Mr. Taraday stated at a later meeting that the Port could re-introduce its proposal at any time, he did not clarify that unless the Council rejects the plan, Options 1 and 2 remain on the table subject to immediate action. So, the Port plan originally forwarded to the Council by the Planning Board could be resurrected and passed by a simple majority vote without any further discussion or public
hearing process. If you formally reject the plan, then the Port would have to enter a new public process if it decides in the future to pursue redevelopment alternatives.
You should also consider that the alternative currently being discussed by Council (the Harbor Square Subarea Plan – City Council Discussion Draft) will have to go through the entire public process beginning at the Planning Board and on to Council with multiple discussions and public hearings at both levels. This will undoubtedly continue for some time. Absent rejection of the Port plan, a successful motion to approve the Port of Edmonds Harbor Square Master Plan would derail the Council process.
To reiterate, we recommend the Council formally vote to reject the Port plan. To not do so only perpetuates concerns about possible approval of a plan that many on the council and in the community do not support. We urge you to act to eliminate this concern as you move forward.
Thank you for your consideration.
John Reed, on behalf of
The Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE)