I am writing in the interests of city residents to address the current unacceptable level of miscommunication and misunderstanding regarding the Port of Edmonds, Edmonds Marsh, and related factors influencing our upcoming elections. By way of validation that ‘I know of which I speak’, this writer is still an active member and past chair of the Edmonds Planning Board. Matters regarding Edmonds Marsh, Port Harbor Square Master Plan, Edmonds Shoreline Master Program, and downtown waterfront area have been documented, presented, discussed, reviewed, and acted upon by our board [including myself] many times over the years, but most intensely over the period of 2010 – 2013. Two of our current city council members were on our board during the previously cited period. Furthermore, two additional current council members were council members over that same time period. I’m sure that these council members can recall the following facts regarding the marsh and Harbor Square property.
Regarding the Edmonds Marsh– The city owns and is responsible for plans and implementation of programs/projects towards restoring and further improving sustainable environmental conditions in this area of our waterfront. These publically available plans with funding targets include “Willow Creek Daylighting”, “Edmonds Marsh Channel Improvements”, and “Dayton Street Pump Station”—all contained within the city’s Capital Facilities and Capital Improvement Plans [2018 – 2013]. The port led by its current commissioners has always been and remains in support of plans and measures intended to improve the marsh environment, but they are NOT responsible for leading these efforts. If citizens and/or candidates for public office want to help the Edmonds Marsh they should join a relative support group, volunteer, or assist in fundraising, but don’t harangue the Port of Edmonds and/or their commissioners regarding their posture or responsibilities towards the marsh.
Regarding the Port’s Harbor Square Master Plan—One of the Port’s primary missions is to promote economic development within their district, and by inclusion, our city. The port owns the Harbor Square land and related buildings and improvements within this district. In compliance with Chapter 20.00 of the Edmonds Community Development Code the port prepared and submitted a detailed request [April, 2012] that the city incorporate a Harbor Square Master Plan into the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Preparation of this conceptual plan involved considerable effort by the Port over several years [2009 – 2012] including professional design and financial consultants, an oversight committee, the public, and, of course, the current port commissioners. This Plan was NOT a project-level proposal. Had it been adopted by the city [as voted by our council] it would only have laid a foundation for a future rezone and/or development agreement for the property.
Following an extended review period culminating in a public hearing on Nov. 14, 2012, the Edmonds Planning Board voted to forward this plan with 14 specific conditions to council recommending approval. With city planning staff memorandum of Supportive Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations, council took up review of the plan extensively into early 2013. During their review, council encountered several challenges including internal conflict, public feedback, and also attempted preparation of a council-generated [replacement] master plan. The outgrowth of this process for whatever reasons led to the port’s withdrawal of their proposal and they shelved the 2012 plan. The port has no intentions or plans at this time to either ‘revive’ or prepare/propose redevelopment of Harbor Square with this ‘shelved’ or alternative plan.
Current pre-election rhetoric and/or assertions that the port is not supporting Edmonds Marsh improvements or intends to ‘revive’ a Harbor Square Master Plan are NOT factual. Existing and highly experienced port commissioners and management structure are doing a great job and deserve our support in the upcoming election.
— P.B. Lovell