Edmonds City Council considers zoning changes for Edmonds Way, sewer rate increase
The Edmonds City Council last night considered a draft proposal to change zoning regulations along Edmonds Way. City Associate Planner Mike Clugston gave a presentation in which he told how recent development along this corridor raised concerns that existing zoning requirements were not adequate to maintain community visual and design standards. The draft proposal calls for more stringent height and setback requirements than the current law, but maintains provisions for developers to go beyond these if certain incentives are met. These incentive include such measures as providing a certain number of affordable housing units and public amenities including outdoor seating, plazas, and walkways.
City Attorney Jeff Taraday advised the Council that while the draft proposal represents an improvement over the current law, this is a complex issue and would require a comprehensive legal review to draft a quality ordinance that would help ensure that future development would conform to community aesthetic values and standards. He estimated that even if the Council makes this a high priority, it would take “a couple of months” to prepare.
Saying that while the proposal might not be perfect but is better than what is now on the books, Councilmember Petso moved for the Council to direct Taraday to prepare an ordinance incorporating the proposed design standards. But because the evening’s agenda did not include this as an action item, in the interest of public disclosure the Council opted to postpone taking this action pending a public hearing at its next meeting.
The Council also heard additional information on the proposed sewer rate increase recommended as part of the 2013 Sanitary Sewer Comprehensive Plan. Public Works Director Phil Williams pointed out the long-term benefits of financing ongoing maintenance of the sewer system through rates rather than debt, which would add considerable finance charges to the total bill. He also illustrated the impact on ratepayers by providing comparisons with neighboring jurisdictions, showing that even with the proposed increase, Edmond sewer rates would remain among most affordable.
In other actions, the Council heard the quarterly report from the Planning Board, and discussed the possible funding of the Development Services Director position for the remainder of 2013.
In his concluding remarks Mayor Earling reminded the Council that representatives from our sister city, Hekinan, Japan, will visit in late October and requested that all make extra efforts to participate and help welcome the delegation.
– Story and photos by Larry Vogel