A city code amendment to allow unit lot subdivisions in Edmonds moved a step closer to approval Tuesday night, when the Edmonds City Council agreed to ask the City Attorney to create an ordinance for the council’s review June 6.
The council made that decision after holding a public hearing during which two people spoke in favor of the idea: One from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties and the other representing the private applicant that is planning a multi-family project in Edmonds and made the request for such a code amendment.
Unit lot subdivisions provide buyers with a more affordable option to condominiums, said Mike Pattison, government affairs director for the Master Builders Association. Condos are “so expensive due to the recession that frankly those units aren’t being built any more unless you are getting close to a million dollars,” he added. “That’s how high insurance and pre-sale requirements are.”
“This is allowing people not only to own their home but be owners in their community,” Pattison said. “People that own their homes take better care of their homes and their neighborhoods.”
Some councilmembers expressed concerns about the possibility that some of the subdivided units wouldn’t be well maintained, but city staff responded that those concerns would likely be addressed through covenants, conditions and restrictions included as part of the development.
John Bissell of Harmsen Associates, which is representing Westgate Woods, LLC in its request for the code amendment, said during his public hearing testimony that the city’s Architectural Design Board (ADB) does impose some requirements on how buildings appear before they are built. After further questions from councilmembers, city associate planner Mike Clugston added that any changes to those already-approved building designs would have to come back to city staff for review.
Shane Hope, the city’s development director, reiterated that a unit lot subdivision “does not change the number of units that can be on any lot. It does not change the parking requirements. It does not change the design. All it does it allow for lot lines to be drawn where the development could already occur — town homes being a prime example.”
Although the request was made for the specific Westgate Woods project, the code amendment if approved could be applied in the both multifamily residential (RM) and general commercial (CG) zones as well as portions of the Westgate mixed use zone.
Also on Tuesday night, the council:
– Acknowledged the work of Deputy Parks Director Renee McRae, a 30-year City of Edmonds employee who will be retiring June 1 and who was recently honored during the Washington Recreation and Parks Association Conference with a Distinguished Service Award. During a presentation about McRae’s accomplishments, City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite called McRae a “creative problem solver” who is highly regarded throughout the community. One of McRae’s many notable accomplishments, Hite said, was creation of the city’s flower basket and bed donation program. At the end of Hite’s remarks, those attending the council meeting gave McRae a standing ovation.
– Had a discussion of council committee meeting procedures, including what worked well and what didn’t during last Tuesday’s first meeting that used the new committee structure. Councilmembers agreed on two items: That each of the three committee chairs needs to work collaboratively with the other councilmember appointed to his or her committee, and that any item discussed during the committee meeting should not be moved onto a future consent agenda unless both councilmembers agree. Council President Tom Mesaros said he would work with City Attorney Jeff Taraday to draft an ordinance reflecting those concerns, and would bring it back for the council’s approval during its June 6 business meeting.
-Heard proclamations regarding National Public Works Week and National Police Week.
-Received a quarterly report from the Snohomish Health District and a presentation from the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. (Look for more details on those presentations in a separate story soon.)
– Approved amendments to Diversity Commission code regarding member attendance and filling of new vacancies.
– Authorized the mayor to sign supplemental agreements with BHC Consultants for the Dayton Street Utility Replacement Project, and with Tetra Tech for the Lift Station #1 Basin and Flow Study.
– Authorized the mayor to sign a Complete Streets grant agreement with the Transportation Improvement Board, to complete a missing sidewalk link on the south side of Dayton Street from 7th Avenue to 8th Avenue.
– Approved a proposal to reject all construction bids for the 238th Street Walkway Project since they came in higher than the engineer’s estimate. The goal would be to re-advertise the project in fall 2017 or early 2018, with the hope of receiving lower bids.
– Approved a city policy that outlines when Edmonds business owners can have late fees for business license renewal payments waived or reversed. You can learn more about that in our earlier story here.
– Approved an agreement with Olympic View Water and Sewer District and the Edmonds School District related to permits and approvals for the new Madrona K-8 School.
— Story and photo by Teresa Wippel