Council OKs final Shoreline Master Plan letter for Ecology Department

The Edmonds Marsh after a full day of rain in January 2016, with the water reaching the boardwalk. (Photo by Bill Anderson)
The Edmonds Marsh after a full day of rain in January 2016, with the water reaching the boardwalk. (Photo by Bill Anderson)

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night by a 4-2 vote approved a response to Washington State Department of Ecology-required changes to the city’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Councilmember Tom Mesaros was absent from the meeting.

Heard the first of several presentations from city staff regarding the city’s 2017 proposed budget. Public Works Director Phil Williams outlined major projects planned by the department for 2017, including $14.7 million to install or rehabilitate water and sewer line citywide, $1.1 million for street repair projects, and $300,000 for capital improvements to city buildings neglected by years of deferred maintenance. You can see his entire presentation here.– Listened to a Diversity Commission presentation, with Commissioner Pat Valle making the report. Valle summarized the commission’s accomplishments so far, including development of a four-point mission statement and sponsorship of several activities, including an April 6 diversity forum, marching in the Edmonds Fourth of July parade and an Oct. 12 forum on refugees and immigrants. Future plans include a World Cafe Community Cultural Conversation in late fall and a Youth Diversity engagement event mid-winter next year.

– Heard the 2016 annual report from the City’s Hearing Examiner Phil Olbrechts, who outlined the five decisions he has issued since his last report in December 2015. You can see his full report here.

– Moved to next week’s consent calendar approval of an amendment to Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Salmon Project to develop an alternative tidal channel alignment for the Willow Creek daylighting project, to enhance habitat for fish and other wildlife. Also moved to the consent calendar was a supplemental sgreement with Shannon & Wilson to start the next phase of design work for the daylighting project.

– Received a report on 2016 park impact fees, which the city began collecting in 2013 from new single- and multi-family homes and commercial businesses. The city has collected $671,000 so far and not spend any of it; $500,000 is scheduled to be used in 2017 to support the waterfront redevelopment project next to the senior center.

— By Teresa Wippel


  1. Contrary to comments by some Council Members and one public commenter at last nights meeting, the fact of the matter is you can’t restore habitat if you allow that same habitat to be destroyed by constructing large buildings right up to the edge of the Marsh. The Council’s adoption of the 110 buffer will prevent further encroachment of development into the Marsh both along Harbor Square and on the south side of the Marsh at the yet to be developed old UnoCal site. The Council’s decision to set the 110 foot buffer is based on science to ensure no net loss of ecological functions of the Marsh and that is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act requires that cities do to protect sensitive environments for the benefit of all citizens of the State.

    Unfortunately, the ‘battle’ to protect the Marsh from further development didn’t end with the Council’s decision on buffers; it now has to be approved by Maia Bellon, Director of Wash. Dept. of Ecology. Citizens of Edmonds now need to contact Ms. Bellon (E-Mail ) and demand that she uphold her agency’s mission to “protect, preserve and enhance Washington’s environment for current and future generations” by approving the Council’s 110 foot buffer (plus 15 foot set-back) for the Marsh. For ‘unknown’ reasons, her staff have taken a non-scientific, pro-development approach to reducing the buffers around the Marsh, and the citizens of Edmonds need to tell Ms. Bellon and the governor of this State that we demand that the law be upheld and that Ecology has no legal alternative but to approve the Council’s scientifically based 110 foot buffer.

  2. Interesting that Councilman Teitzel, Councilman Tibbott, and Mayor Earling all seem to hold out the hope for future development (by striking the clause that residential development next to the marsh was not appropriate). There are a LOT of pro-development forces lurking around the perimeter of the marsh, including but not limited to the Port of Edmonds. Now we know beyond a doubt which council members (and mayor) are in favor of more development around the marsh, maybe even in and on the marsh. Teitzel’s and Tibbott’s terms can’t come up too soon for a vote (their term expires 12/31/19, unfortunately). Please remember their stance on this!