Letter: Another approach to waterfront development?

To the editor:

Recently an Edmonds City Council subcommittee was tasked with holding discussions about the downtown waterfront properties.

As a result, D.J. Wilson has reported to Council and the public at an unscheduled and unannounced presentation on April 6, 2010 that there is now an understanding that we are to be “open mindedly flexible on building heights” for taller buildings up to 50 feet on our waterfront. That would allow taller buildings that don’t comply with our city code. I need to be clear that D.J. Wilson’s taller building ideas do not in any way speak for this councilmember.

Now that Mr. Wilson has had his meeting with the land owners may I now suggest that the way to move forward on this issue is to work with Imagine Edmonds. Imagine Edmonds is a group of residents whose objective is to engage citizens throughout Edmonds in a process that combines positive energy, creativity and a shared commitment. This will facilitate the creation of meaningful, community-crafted gathering places. The downtown waterfront is where we should integrate social, artistic and environmental perspectives into the creation of gathering places that are constructive and inclusive of community-based planning and education outreach, research and training.

Councilmember Michael Plunkett

  1. Mr. Plunkett: To clarify your comments, as you know, the Council directed Council members Bernheim, Buckshnis and me to bring back ideas regarding a vision for the properties between the railroad tracks and downtown.

    As part of that directive, the three of us held a meeting with the Department of Transportation, City of Edmonds staff and mayor, and the Port of Edmonds. I gave a presentation at that meeting, which I subsequently gave at Council, laying out the “state of play” and the various interests of the folks at the table.

    You directed us, Mr. Plunkett, as did the rest of the Council, to be creative and bring back ideas. We did that.

    In that presentation where I noted the Port’s interest in flexibility on heights, I cited the central importance of a citizen-led visioning process, the City goal of creating an engaging public space, and the importance of trying to work with all of those involved and interested.

    I’m glad you have begun to engage this debate, and I am looking forward to an exchange of ideas about how to spur economic activity in our community while maintaining the charm of our Edmonds.

  2. Mr. Plunkett;
    When analyzing the statements of politicians, it is easy to sort out those who are trying to get things done from those who are obstructing the process for their own gain. Obstructionists only speak of high principles that they support, then pick out specifics (out of context) of someone else’s plan, as examples of demons at work to bring down our fair community. One cannot criticize high principles, but, such principles are useless in fixing our community problems by themselves.
    Politicians working to get things done speak of teamwork, the need to put everything on the table, and they speak, most importantly, of policies that they support, and why.
    This is what citizens want from a politician: someone willing to risk political capital for the good of the community, not a one-note flute only able to blast on about “Others want tall buildings, and only I can save you!” Enough already.
    We have work to do. If you want to be part of the process – stop campaigning, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Convert those high principles into real action.

  3. Councilman Plunkett:

    Thank you for starting the public process by having an open meeting inviting members to the public to attend.

    Clearly, unlike Mr. Wilson, you understand there is no difference in the meanings of secret and private. Mr. Wilson thinks he knows what’s best for Edmonds without public participation. Time for a reality check – rezoning for 6 stories and 50 ft. tall buildings on the waterfront in the current economic climate is at best, bizarre. Historically, Edmonds residents have supported the current Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Economic Development and Building Heights are not synonymous unlike Secret and Private Meetings.

    Please keep the citizens involved and make sure any discussions about rezoning with council members are conducted in full public view.

  4. Mr. Tupper’s comment makes me laugh. Of course Mr. Plunkett understands secret meetings. After all he was at an illegal quorum earlier this year.
    Mr. Tupper and Mr. Plunkett do the citizens of this city no justice by fear mongering and scaring people. Haven’t we had enough of this? I have.

  5. Mr. Young:

    You may laugh all you want. The celebration at Engel’s Pub you refer to as a secret meeting has nothing to do with members of the City Council meeting with property owners for the purpose of discussing the rezoning of the Edmonds waterfront to allow 5 stories and 50 ft. tall buildings. More importantly – a citizen was excluded from that meeting. Nobody was excluded from Engels Pub – it’s a public establishment. The complainer, Mr. Hall could have joined in the celebration and choose not to.

    I’ve eaten in your restaurant and must say I never got enough! Your argument is about a puny as the portions of food you serve.

  6. Mr. Plunkett:

    It is unclear to me how Mr. Wilson’s work was in secret when the Council asked Wilson, and your own Bernheim and Buckshnis to work in committee and bring back a report And, since Mr. Wilson is no longer President of the Council, it was your own Mr. Bernheim who put it on the calendar.

    I think my husband, Todd Cloutier, said it best a couple of posts ago. Stop campaigning and start moving to move the City forward. It is clear that you have been schooled in the Carl Rove method of politicking.

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