Commentary: A drive-thru urban village at Westgate? As if!

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Joan Bloom
Joan Bloom

In an Aug. 25, 2014, article in the Herald Business Journal (“Westgate wants to be more walkable, green, diverse”), Mayor Dave Earling is quoted: “What’s the missing piece [of Westgate]? A walkable neighborhood.” The Westgate plan is being promoted by Mayor Earling and his staff as creating a walkable urban village. As the plan is currently configured, with commercial mixed-use allowed in all four sections of Westgate, it will have the opposite effect. It will create a nightmare of pedestrian, traffic and parking problems for those who shop at the many large commercial spaces: QFC, PCC, Bartell, Goodwill, Walgreens, and the smaller shops.

Westgate is not now, nor will it ever be, a walkable urban village. Westgate is divided into four quadrants, by SR 104 and by 9th/100th Ave. Thousands of cars travel on SR 104 daily, going east to Interstate 5, and west to the ferry, waterfront, and downtown. Because of narrow sidewalks and their close proximity to SR 104, and because cars enter and exit onto the highway, it’s not comfortable to walk along that road. In many places, it is downright unpleasant, if not scary. Crossing the intersection, from PCC to Bartell, for example, is a fun game of don’t get hit by cars turning right. Same game of chance walking on 9th/100th at Westgate. The development as proposed will make pedestrian crossing worse, far worse. How is that “a walkable neighborhood.”

I urge everyone who cares about the future of Westgate to walk the area, cross the roads, and experience the fun for yourself. While you are doing so, please think about what it would be like to walk the same highway and roads with three- or four-story buildings within 18 feet. That is about how close they would be to you with the current proposal.

In his editorial “Perfection vs. good,” Earling referenced Voltaire as saying “perfect is the enemy of good.” Mayor Earling goes on to ask, “What should we do at Westgate? Change it or leave it the same?” I don’t recall any plan that has been presented that is good, let alone perfect: bad is the enemy of acceptable.

Apparently, Mayor Earling is unaware of another of Voltaire’s famous sayings: “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” To the Mayor, staff, and fellow councilmembers, who are critical of questions, critical of concern over mega-developments that will affect our city, forever: indifference is the enemy of good.

I agree that change is needed. I also agree that carefully planned residential at Westgate could enhance the area. I don’t agree that the proposed plan for Westgate is anything more than a ploy to increase residential density by adding mixed-use buildings, without consideration for the many concerns posed by residents who live and/or shop in the Westgate area. As soon as a good plan is presented to council for review with the public, I will be happy to discuss. I will be happy to consider. I will be happy to talk compromise.

Some claim that “we” have been working on this plan for four years. They will review how many public hearings have been held at the planning board, and talk about the public meetings and work by the UW architecture students. Contending that an extensive public process has occurred, contradicts that only a single public hearing has been held in front of City Council. The public discourse should begin, not end, with the participation of council, where by the time it reaches a vote, all that’s left to compromise on are the details of bad design. No thanks. In his editorial, Mayor Earling references Carol Sanford speaking about “Deliberative dialog for development of full understanding and respect.” I agree with Mayor Earling: let the deliberative dialog begin!

I am sponsoring a Town Hall meeting at Faith Community Church, 10220 238th St. S.W., Edmonds, on Monday, Sept. 15, from 7- 8:30 p.m. Please join the deliberative dialog. To make your voice heard, do the following: Comment, below, on this article. Write to council@edmondswa.gov to request additional public hearings to consider the Westgate plan.

— By Joan Bloom
Edmonds City Council

39 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, the questions are important and our whole community needs to be involved with the process. …….and again, the “public” record needs to be documented. Just saying the public has been part of all of this is simply not true! This is only the second time I have seen plans and drawings, and I have to say that I couldn’t even tell which areas/streets were being talked about and it appeared to me (again) like it was set up to be complicated. Reading through it is very complicated (and I’m smart), and not something that is rammed through without the citizens of Edmonds having their input and everything explained simply and all questions answered.

    I say everyone should walk this highway and area also…..This will not be a walkable village here and it is scary to walk on a Highway. Not too many people would go out of their way to walk a highway. There is a reason for that.

    And last but not least, a good analogy regarding the “this will be a destination”. I say BALONEY, development speak……..When you are going to Cannon Beach, you are not ever thinking about a “destination” that is just prior to Cannon Beach and the beach. You simply would not even entertain that idea.

    So let’s have some nice residential homes built for families with young children just starting out (and yes, I don’t know one young person/family starting out that doesn’t have the dream of owning a home with a small yard, etc. for their children. ….doesn’t have to be huge!), some apartments, and I would most like to see some real affordable housing.

    Everybody and particularily all those from the Westgate neighborhood need to make their thoughts and concerns voiced starting now. Those bulldozers can start rolling very quickly, and neighborhoods can get destroyed quite fast. I saw an article recently from Seattle regarding this……Not pretty with people fighting each other AFTER the damage is done. My old neighborhood of Ballard comes to mind, and it was interesting that some of the classic Ballard homes still lefting standing have the highest values listed by real estate companies, so it simply is not true that it is smart to tear all of these classics down and quickly put up structures that may never be considered classics. Obviously they are wanted and bring high prices. Duh!

  2. Before I make my comments, I want to disclose that I do serve on the Economic Development Commission’s Westgate Subcommittee. I viewed this project with an “outsiders” eyes, as I’ve not been a part of the plan the past 4 years – but I can state with confidence that there has been considerable input from a variety of Edmonds residents, experts, and non-experts and the plan has been modified several times based on this input. I’m not sure there is a plan that will satisfy everyone.

    Which leads me to my questions:

    1. Please define “good.” To use “good” as a standard leaves too much up to speculation and interpretation. Has council determined what “good” means? Does your definition of “good” align with other members on council?

    2. Councilmember Bloom, are you the deciding vote on the adoption of the plan? Your statement, “As soon as a good plan is presented to council for review with the public, I will be happy to discuss. I will be happy to consider. I will be happy to talk compromise” suggests you wear the crown.

    3. Are you open to sharing the evidence you have that supports your statement “As the plan is currently configured, with commercial mixed-use allowed in all four sections of Westgate, it will have the opposite effect. It will create a nightmare of pedestrian, traffic and parking problems for those who shop at the many large commercial spaces: QFC, PCC, Bartell, Goodwill, Walgreens, and the smaller shops” ? I was not presented with this information and that can certainly aid my input on the plan.

    4. Is it your position that a public hearing can only be a public hearing if the council calls for one?

    5. In your opinion, how do we get to “yes” on adoption? You mention compromise…so, what does this mean?

    Finally, thank you for holding a meeting on this important topic. I am encouraged by your passion for improvement and your investment in time on this topic.

    • Perhaps Mr. Schindler you could come to the meeting Monday night, and show the citizens at the meeting the documentation in regards, to “Edmonds residents, experts, and non-experts”…………………or perhaps the city STAFF could show up and show us this documentation and explain all of this. This should be easy…….Documentation of the “considerable input”. I have not seen anything like this, and the citizens have a right to know this information.

      Also, in regards to crazy old out of date codes in the city of Edmonds the way they are now, I am wondering how this whole huge project could even be put together without updated codes??? . It does not even make sense unless a lot of this project will be about winging it as they go……….. I don’t believe for a moment that THIS which will be extremely expensive is what the citizens want. …..winging it as they go….. Someone needs to explain how this project will unfold with an incomplete upgrade/update/revision of codes. Just write the codes as they go??

  3. A lot of ‘scary’ scenarios presented by the Councilmember Bloom. And as Mr. Schindler notes, not much if any documentation to support the statements. Crossing wide intersections (regardless of age), look to NYC/Chicago/Singapore for plans and solutions that have addressed these concerns; even for senior and the disabled. Too dangerous for the average person? I’ve walked and ridden my bike to PCC w/o incident; just need to know how to stay safe…careful, alert, cautious. Don’t understand the evil surrounding ‘eighteen feet’ as it is a frequent feature in good development. And I’d like to see exact data about the ‘thousands’ of cars using SR 104 daily and how that compares to other state highways around town. Please be accurate and precise with your data to support your statements. And, finally, if Councilmember Bloom is now sitting out the discussion, I suggest the remaining Councilmembers proceed, and expect her ‘no’ vote.

    • It is a simple no brainer, Mr. Underhill. People do not walk up and down State Highways to have casual strolls or to get anywhere……They are “highways” for cars, not pedestrians…….

      Singapore (in particular) and NYC and crime ridden (and I say crime ridden because some of it is documented to have been from new tall dark areas building development) Chicago (this is ALL easy to research), have only a certain amount of geography and because of that (and Singapore is the best blaring example) have been developed recently to accomodate millions of people in a small area. …….I don’t see Edmonds ever becoming Singapore, Chicago or NYC…..

  4. Instead of making Westgate an urban village, make downtown Edmonds a walkable village. Close off the streets to traffic for three blocks aroung the fountain. There are alleys for the merchants to load inventory into their shops. Go with pedestrian walkways. The traffic in downtown Edmonds is easily detoured.

    Westgate is too busy and there are too many major roads intersecting. If would be a nightmare trying to re-route all that traffic. Is this another money wasting idea like the donut at Five Corners?

    • At one point the corner of the Key Bank building is 5 feet from the sidewalk. Assuming the sidewalk is in the ROW easement (which is never a certainty in the City of Edmonds), that is a significant setback reduction.

  5. The 5-corners loop da loop; intersection of 9th and Main; Sunset redo; Westgate village doodoo; WHOSE pockets are getting lined by all of these?? Kick backs? Fraud? Something smells fishy!

  6. Westgate. Is where many of us go for groceries, Starbucks and sundries. It isn’t an urban village, it is a mostly residential neighborhood. Having looked through the dense documentation about the redevelopment, it is stunning to me that a flexible building code is in the mix.
    There is a building height trade up matrix whereby the developer gives the City the things the City wants, and the developer can build higher than codes allow in the rest of the City. One foreseeable consequence in the flexible scheme is that only deep pocketed developers will be interested in developing the “mixed” use buildings since they will be the ones who can afford to do the things which will allow them to go higher, leaving local and smaller developers out of the “game”.
    Increasing population density will result in more traffic on SR 104. Higher buildings along that corridor could make it a tunnel. In the winter 104 is icy out there since the area doesn’t get much sun.
    There is much to consider before going forward with the Westgate redevelopment plan. Ms Bloom and Ms Petso are right to want things to slow down and be carefully thought thought. An urban village is not why I live in Edmonds.

  7. Here is a quote from the Herald Business Journal article I reference in the first paragraph of my editorial:

    “Pedestrians trying to cross from one of the four corners to another can face an intimating amount of traffic. Some 13,000 vehicles each day use eastbound Highway 104. A total of 14,000 cars use northbound and southbound 100th Avenue W. daily.”

    Here is a link to that August 25, 2014 article:

    http://www.theheraldbusinessjournal.com/article/20140825/SCBJ02/308269999

  8. Joan deserves to be respected for at least questioning this whole possible design problem.
    Bartells wants to redesign it’s building and push towards the street, creating a 12 foot walkway only. Where will the car parking be? Where will the parking be for the apartments it wants above the new created store? How difficult will it be to go and shop there (let alone park to shop) Bartells is pushing for the same urban design it has created in Ballard, and we all know how congested Ballard has become. Do we need this congestion prior to going down the hill into Edmonds? it is our choice, as voting citizens to determine which way we want our town to look.

  9. About 15 years ago my son who was about 12 and his best friend were crossing from the Sub -Shop (now defunct, but the Starbucks side) to the gas station (now defunct, but the Key Bank side.) They had the light and the walk sign. My son’s friend was hit by a car making a free right turn. Luckily, he wasn’t killed but only broke his leg. This was many years back and the traffic wasn’t anywhere near what it is today. More people, more cars more accidents. Do we need more?

  10. I’m not opposed to increasing density and I like that development at Westgate is being questioned. Debate and input from varying view points is needed to make better decisions to benefit the whole community. I have lived on 5th Ave S in Edmonds for over 4 years and the amount of traffic seems to increase every year. People like Edmonds; more people, and young people, seem to keep moving here and more people are visiting. These are good things.

    The number of people who seem to be homeless in Edmonds also seems to be increasing. This is a problem. Four years ago, there were not as many people panhandling at corners along HWY 104 as there are now. If new apartments are going to be built, what is the plan for a percentage of these units to be affordable to low-income individuals and families? And how many units will be provided for homeless individuals, families, senior and/or veterans?

    What is Edmonds’ policy on requiring developers to provide a certain amount of affordable housing units in exchange for a building permit?

  11. All questions by the citizens need to be answered. Citizens participation is required. This is not unlike the Sunset Avenue Project, Five Corners Project where citizens input has not entered the equation or very little, millions being spent, and the city seems to be ramming this down the pike quite fast…….With complicated drawings, and very little presentation, the city needs to hold back on this. There seems to be something wrong here to try to push this through and act like everybody has known about it.

    need I remind the Mayor, City Council and Staff, you work for the CITIZENS of Edmonds and not the other way around. We decide what we wish our money to be spent on and you are in office and staff to implement what the citizens of Edmonds want and not what special interests may want or a select few.

    I do not believe the citizens of Edmonds wish to have their small quaint town turned into a cash cow for foreign investors, developers, etc. that want sky high buildings, Singapore, NYC, or crime ridden Chicago type living. An urban village on a highway…..You have got to be kidding. .

    Thank you Coluncilwoman Bloom and Councilwoman Petso for asking the hard questions. These questions need to be answered simply before this is rammed through the pike, like everyone knows about it and understands it. Something wrong about that.

    Edmonds is not the cash cow for a select group that are just here to make money off of our town.

    Yes, this is to benefit the WHOLE city of Edmonds.

    I hope there is a large turn out for Councilwomans Town meeting Monday night.

    I guess I’m wondering why the Mayor has said NO to a Councilwoman having staff in regards to answering questions by the public at a Town Meeting. I believe this says everything in regards to WHY we should slow this whole process down.

  12. I agree Tere – with having citizens’ questions answered. As a third generation Edmonds family, I would love to have my questions answered. Please see above.

    • Mr. Schindler

      I appreciate that you want your questions answered. I want mine answered too. Your questions should be asked of those who are promoting this plan — the Mayor and his staff. Once this plan is in place, it will be too late. Large developments are nearly permanent.

      Here are my (quick) answers to your questions.

      (1) A good plan would
      – Support existing Westgate businesses, first and foremost.
      – Provide affordable housing for a range of ages and family size, tucked behind the commercial uses or on other specific parcels, with its own dedicated parking.
      – Provide privacy for the residents, and eliminate shared parking for commercial and residential.
      – Would not allow commercial mixed (block) use on all Westgate parcels. Instead, it would specifically designate what uses are allowed, where.
      – Code would be written, not to allow leeway for the developers, but to prescribe what the citizens of Edmonds want.
      – Would take into account change in traffic patterns, as the result of the increased density allowed.
      – Would improve pedestrian safety in crossing SR 104 and 100th.

      (2) I don’t wear the crown, Mayor Earling wears the crown, and he has the entire staff available to support his position. None of the directors working on this plan, including the former Acting Development Services Director, live in Edmonds. They will not feel the affect of the Westgate development, personally. This isn’t their city, it’s just their jobs. In order to prevent the proposed plan, residents who oppose it must speak up.

      (3) Here is a link to the current plan:

      http://agenda.ci.edmonds.wa.us/docs/2014/CCOUNCIL/20140826_1001/7092%5FCouncil%20Discussion%20%2D%20Development%20Code%20Text%202014%2D08%2D26%2Epdf

      To start, look at pages 7 and 8. On page 8 you will see that residential use #7 (Commercial Mixed Use) is allowed throughout all of Westgate.

      Please also review the language of the plan. For example, some young people have been told there will be “affordable housing” for them to live in. Here is what the plan says about housing:

      “Housing.

      To promote a balance in age demographics and encourage age diversity, the City of Edmonds is actively encouraging a greater number of dwelling units targeting young professionals and young workers through workforce housing provisions. The Westgate Mixed Use District requires that at least 10% of residential units shall be very small units designed for affordable workforce housing (under 900 square feet) and that not more than 10% of all dwelling units may exceed 1,600 square feet in size.”

      What does “actively encouraging” mean? This paragraph talks of only size of the units, and says nothing about affordable housing, which is specifically defined as percent of income that is put towards housing. It also says nothing of a balance of condominiums versus apartments. That decision is left up to the developer.

      (4) You state: “Is it your position that a public hearing can only be a public hearing if the council calls for one?”

      It’s not about my position: State law defines public hearings, how they are announced, and the decision making body that holds them. In this case the Edmonds City Council is the decision making body.

      (5) You ask, how do we reach compromise? Don’t be apathetic, get involved. Don’t accept top-down decisions by experts; the final decisions should be made by those who live here. More ideas, more discussion, more debate. Tell your Council Members this is too important to throw up for a quick vote. Edmonds is a gift. Let’s show our appreciation.

      You are welcome and please consider attending my Town Hall meeting tomorrow, September 15 from 7-8:30 PM at Faith Community Church.

  13. Edmonds’ greatest appeal to most of us is it’s family-focused priorities, our schools are a significant part of our reputation, followed by our current popular consensus to “keep it quaint” (developers to want to turn every sparsely populated area into a condensed residence/retail cash-cowif they can, and us into a new North Seattle– but the lack of condensed housing and five story buildings and the congestion that comes with them are exactly what we like about Edmonds after a drive through any other place closer to or around Seattle.) —- Concerning Westgate, it is a heavily traversed area what with ferry traffic and other commuters, and I can’t help but question why anyone who’s driven through those parking lots weekly would think inviting increased pedestrian traffic would be wise, if it couldn’t be avoided even. Growth is no doubt inevitable, but if we can conclude that function should be our priority when designing our traffic arterials, then we will find that an “urban village” design is not in our best interest. *If* you value these sorts of things.

  14. Its endless! I hate to get personal but Mr. Earling’s ​Westgate proposal is just another in a long and unfortunate series of
    ​his​ ill-conceived efforts to make developers richer and and the quality of life in Edmonds poorer. I am surprised he didn’t
    ​suggest that we​ dig a tunnel under the intersection as he once wanted to tunnel under the tracks at the ferry dock. But I am not surprised that he is making another attempt to urbanize an environment that we all chose because it is suburban. Will the time will come when Mr Earling will act like a Mayor rather than a realtor/developer? Thank you Councilwoman Bloom for trying to protect the interests of the citizens of Edmonds. It should be easy for the Council to reject this flawed proposal.

    • Mr. Stuart:

      You are totally incorrect labeling the Westgate proposal as being Mr. Earling’s. The proposal originated with a group from the U. of W.- the process that produced the proposal was approved by city council. The proposal was thoroughly reviewed by the Planning Board who sent it on to the city council. Mayor Earling had no role in it.

      You go on to say “​his​ ill-conceived efforts to make developers richer”. Please name those developers. Virtually all of the developers who have done mixed-use and multi-family projects in Edmonds have gone bankrupt.

      You owe our mayor an apology.

      • Everything always starts at the top and it doesn’t appear that the citizens of Edmonds who are supposed to be at the top know anything about this huge development plan.

        Again, I have only been here 4-1/2 years, and all we have heard about regarding “economic development” is huge development projects that will have real estate, construction, and developers working and making money. and evidently not much $$$ going to the core of our town.

        **** There are other ways of getting the economy going in Edmonds besides this and with all the “economic” development I have seen here in the past 38 years (5th Avenue Condos blocks and blocks, east and west, whole blocks torn down of classic architecture for this) and yet I have been told over and over that Main Street and the merchants there (with many leaving regularily) and our town doesn’t have any money really coming in from the core……We barely support one grocery store here in Edmonds. Something terribly wrong with that.

        Westgate will never be a “destination”. This is simply development speak.

        Sooooooooooo, what does that say about this same type of development that has always occured her efor at least 38 years that I see with no money for the city to fix our unsafe streets, sidewalks, infrastructure……Shockingly, many streets with no sidewalks for our children to walk safely to school on. This type of “economic development” certainly hasn’t helped with our economy. Our Mayor had been in the real estate industry for many, many years so it is not a stretch to wonder about this when all of the “economic development” worked on most of the time seems to be about one industry.

        What about tourism as an economic plan? LThere are many, many other ways to bring a whole lot of money into Edmonds……It certainly isn’t coming in from past “economic development”…..This clealy doesn’t work for our town.

      • Ron, respectfully, how can a group from the UW originate a process like this?

        I just took a real quick look. Mayor and staff made a Presentation on August 3, 2010 and recommended council action on a recommendation from the Economic Development Commission. The EDC’s recommendation was to proceed with a partnership with the University of Washington Green Futures Lab for development of special district plans for the Five Corners and Westgate commercial centers.

        Recommendation from Mayor and Staff
        1) Authorize staff to initiate the necessary agreements with the University of Washington to proceed on the study, with funding as indicated; and,

        2) Decide on the level of effort to be done on a supporting market study, with funding to be provided by the City Council.

        I think this goes back to what may have been a very problematic decision by former Mayor Haakenson and former Community Services Director Stephan Clifton to develop a plan to free Mr. Clifton him from his other responsibilities as discussed during the March 16, 2010 City Council meeting. The minutes say they wanted Mr. Clifton to be allowed to concentrate completely on economic development. This “plan” appears to have been developed during a time when the Development Services Director position was vacant. Furthermore, the plan may not have respected the fact that the Code required much of the Community Services Director and changing those responsibilities may have required legislative approval.

        This is all based on a very quick search. Normally I’d research in more detail before posting – but decided to post because of the town hall meeting tonight. I’ll try to find some time to research more later.

        • Ken:
          I did not say that UW developed the process; I said that the proposal came from the UW. Sorry if my comments were ambiguous. The bottom line is that the mayor APPROVED none of this; city council had the final say on what’s transpired so far – and will approve the final result.

      • Mr Wambolt:

        I would love to be wrong about the Mayor and owe him an apology: I have never had a one-to-one conversation with the man and certainly have nothing against him personally. So please refresh my memory: I cannot recall a single over-development proposal that the Mayor has publicly opposed (as distinct from voted against). And while you’re at it, please also refresh my memory of the box score of your votes regarding development proposals while you were on the Council. Since you appear to be strongly endorsing the Westgate debacle, am I correct in assuming that you would vote to approve it had you not been voted off Council.

        Unfortunately, I do not believe that the Mayor, the majority of City Council members who vote for these proposals, or the Planning Commission that endorses them, have consistently defended me and my fellow citizens from efforts to over-develop our City. Although it is true that the Council has made some very productive decisions, the collective track record on development has left much to be desired. There does seem to be a very clear bias toward a single developer/realtor-friendly concept of growth at the expense of the quality of life in Edmonds. (Westgate a destination? Really? And at what expense to the merchants in the center to town, all of whom I try to support?) As others on this thread have suggested, the preoccupation with urbanization may help to explain the failure of the Council to explore innovative ways to address some of the pressing needs of our community. I am not accusing anyone of making illegal profits, just of using poor judgment.

        On another note, I am not aware of the bankruptcies that you mention. Could it be that some were the result of very poor business decisions? And that others were efforts to escape the payment of debts?

        • Mr Wambolt–I will try to answer your question–will you answer mine As a reminder
          please list the development projects that Mr.Earling publicly opposed and your box score on development projects while you were on the Council.
          Regarding your question: I hope that you understand that the criteria for “over”-development are complex. The involve filling in and weighting the blanks in an algorithm that includes: housing density, housing type, the adequacy of present and future demand for public services (e.g. police, fire, education) and civic resources (e.g. water and sewage, impact upon traffic and parking, access to open space, safety and comfort of pedestrian movement, impact upon the surrounding social, business, esthetic, and cultural communities, geologic safety, and more. Good examples of over-development according to my criteria are Harbor Square and Westgate.
          And your answer to my questions please?

        • Mr. Stuart:
          I have not kept a box score of those development projects that Mr. Earling has publicly supported or opposed. I suspect that he will have supported most of them, since the worthiness of them will have been extensively vetted before they ever came to city council.

          Regarding my tract record in that regard, there were a numbers of projects underway while I was on council, such as Point Edwards and The Gregory at 5th and Walnut, but they were started prior to my term. Do you have some other project in mind?

      • Ron,
        I have always admired your knowledge of the facts.
        So, if nearly all of the mixed use and multi- family developers have gone bankrupt would it not make sense to figure out why that is before implementing any plan? Is it the codes? The economy? Edmonds’ location relative to where folks work?
        Do you know why they went bankrupt? What that problem is all about? It seems counter intuitive but you are good with your facts.

        • Diane:

          Very good questions. The bankruptcies are a result of the economy and the codes. I believe that in the multi-family areas it’s entirely a result of the economy.

          In the mixed-use areas – the five BD zones – the code has been a factor, as well as the economy. City council made some very appropriate changes to the code for those zones in early 2006, but some other changes proved detrimental to development. The top floor step-back requirement was eliminated a few months ago; that change facilitated the development of the post office property. The 2006 changes made it mandatory for the first floor to have an entry that is level with the street, and a first floor that had a 12′ minimum height; both very appropriate requirements, but those requirements took away from property owners a minimum of 5′ of discretionary height. A remedy to keep the property owners whole is the development agreement proposal from the planning board; thus far city council failed to deal with it.

          The implementation of any proposal for Westgate will obviously have to include codes that make development practical.

      • Bankruptcies across the country (very easy to research) because many of these development companies have had bad business practices, and many have built zillions of structures across the country, and guess what……that old “you build it and they will come”………………..did not quite work. Seattle is a good example. There are thousands upon thousands of these structures all across our country sitting empty, thousands and thousands of housing developments with Nevada/Arizona as grand examples…..easy to look online at these empty developments.

        Former Mayor Nichols wanted to see a million more people in Seattle….Well, try to even drive through Seattle now. I’m from Seattle so I know how Seattle is not “Seattle” anymore. Used as a cash cow for development/construction/real estate and all that wonderful classic architecture gone and many new and few years old structures already deteriorating from bad construction practice. …..easy to see in many buildings. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone” Truer now more than ever, all across our country.

        Edmonds is a small town and never will be Singapore, Chicago or NYC. You few who are mentioning these cities, please quit it. We don’t want to be Singapore, Chicago (most crime ridden) or NYC……..That’s why we moved to Edmonds

        I heard around town that Mr. Brackett lied on the original paper-work to make this a “City”……I think I heard he counted two of his animals
        as “citizens”. ……We should remember this every time we hear somebody say this is a big city…………….Oh, sure, and is that what we want here with our wonderful quaint town…….Only one industry wants that as they will make $$$$ from developing a big “city” here.It appears the real citizens of this town don’t even get counted now. We are supposed to be at the top, again, not the bottom.

        I encourage all to drvie down 5th Avenue coming into town and see how solid development can ruin a visual of a place very fast. They did it before and they will do it again…….Somebody made money, not our city.

        Some development would be fine. I trust the Bartell family but that’s about it. ……and a Bartell family related member came to the Townhall Meeting (and took notes!) and actually asked us to speak up and let him know what the citizens wanted. Gee, what a concept. Thank you Mr. Barber and Bartells! And thumbs down to those at our government here that have said the public has known about this. Baloney

        I say WHO does our town belong to now? Small amount of change at Westgate is good, but not this massive open ended development here

  15. I am glad to have access to the Westgate Study, all 37 pages. It helps me understand the possibilities at that busy corner. I am wondering whether the roundabout concept is being considered for that intersection. It is safer for pedestrians since pedestrians only face cars coming from one direction. Also the pedestrian crossings are set back at least a car’s length from an intersection.
    Right now the cars making turns make it very dangerous for pedestrians. It is best to study the possibilities before making up your mind on the value of the proposal.

  16. The residents of Edmonds need to be very suspect of a plan that is so vague, complicated and being rushed through without real citizen input. We are the people that actually live here, and if I understand it right, most of the people that made this complicated report don’t even live here. How about the residents (the one who actually live here) getting their questions answered, and I guess I’m questioning again why Mayor Earling would not let any staff come to answer questions..

    Again, that says everything, and this runaway train needs to be stopped. We need to know who this complicated plan is really for and who will really benefit from this……………Too vague and complicated I assume planned that way. –

    There is no “urban village” built on Highway 99, and the idea of this State Highway being an “urban village” is simply hogwash……These plans are huge, complicated, and vague…….Vague being a key word here, and I believe vague for a reason.

    Thank you again, Joan Bloom for asking the questions, and standing up for the citizens of Edmonds.

    All residents should attend the Townhall meeting tomorrow night. Don’t let this runaway development train careen out of the control of the citizens who actually live here and are at the top of the pecking order

  17. “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interest skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance” – Theodore Roosevelt

    Let’s think long and hard about what is being presented in the name of “growth”

  18. Back in 2009, Firdale Village was “re visioned”. It was to be according to the “vision” to have elements of an “urban village” as well. The Zoning was adjusted accordingly and just like Westgate now, the City had very specific requirement for redevelopment. Go out and take a look at it now. Nothing happened. It looks the same as it did. I heard that there was a developer who was interested in the project but walked away because the “re visioning” elements made it it financially un doable.
    My point is that just because the City has a “vision” doesn’t mean that it will happen. Firdale is an excellent location but it just sits now. If the “visioning” isn’t realistic, the risk is that properties will just sit as is. Parts of Westgate have been developed recently. Will the “re visioning” result in a cohesive redevelopment of more than a few of the properties with the rest of them just sitting like Firdale?

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