Council to discuss $725K in change orders, amendments to downtown business zones, Milltown Park

Among the items on the agenda for Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council meeting: Discussion of $725,000 in change orders that exceeded the original $1,634,000 contract for the Haines Wharf Park project and consideration of a new City policy to address processing of change orders on City capital projects.

In addition, the council will revisit an earlier July 26 discussion regarding amendments to Downtown Business (BD) zones, which had been referred to the Community Services/Development Services Committee for further review. (According to draft amendments accompanying the agenda, the idea behind BD zones is to provide a strong central retail core at downtown’s focal center while providing for a mixture of supporting commercial and residential uses in the area surrounding this retail core area.)  Following discussion, the Community Services/Development Services Committee forwarded three of four issues to the full Council for further deliberation and potential action Tuesday night. They include limiting permitted uses in such zones to retail-only, or to retail and service uses; requiring a designated street front/commercial depth requirement, and removing or reducing the building step-backs.

The fourth issue, development agreements, will be considered by the Council as a separate issue on a future agenda.These agreements would enable a project to vary development standards (such as step backs, height, or other parameters) in exchange for achieving city goals, such as innovative green building design, desired uses supporting economic development priorities, or streetscape amenities. Development agreements would require a public approval process, with the ultimate decision made by the City Council.

Also on Tuesday night’s agenda, the council will again take a look at the proposed design for the small courtyard area located in front of Old Milltown at 5th and Dayton. Expect to see a revised plan that addresses the concerns expressed by Councilmember DJ Wilson at the July 19 council meeting that the area didn’t have enough amenities for families with young children.

You can see the complete City Council agenda here. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers, located in the Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., Edmonds.

  1. There’s an odd item on the agenda. Councilmember Bernheim has asked for a report on the ordinance allowing murals. He’d like to find out whether the change is regarded as positive. Is there some reason to believe it is not? Is there some reason this is worth spending time on?

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, Joe. That item is on the consent agenda so isn’t usually discussed unless someone on the council chooses to remove it from consent to consider it separately.

  3. The Old Milltown park has turned into one big fiasco. The property was purchased by the city nearly 3 years ago. The goals for purchasing it were to prevent the developer/owner of the property from redeveloping the area out to the street, and to retain the area as is. Now 3 years later we have a grandiose plan that would be very fitting if the city had an over abundance of funds. The plan calls for spending $120,000; with the possibility of $100,000 of that having to come from the city.

    Let’s have city staff tidy up the area and maintain it, essentially as it was, until the city has discretionary funds for a more elaborate park there.If the city has $100,000 in REET (real estate excise tax) funds to spend, I’d rather have council change the REET policy to allow those funds to be spent on badly needed sreet overlay.

  4. Ron W, I agree with everything you said. When we are in a time of limited revenue, capital improvements should be postponed unless there is a very compelling reason for urgency.

  5. The use of REET (real estate excise tax) funds were always limited in their use to capital projects. Has that changed? If not, they can’t be used for maintenance and operations purposes.

  6. I meant to also cite this definition of capital project:

    those public works projects of a local government for planning, acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, replacement, rehabilitation, or improvement of streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street and road lighting systems, traffic signals, bridges, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems, and planning, construction, reconstruction, repair, rehabilitation, or improvement of parks.

  7. One of the two REET funds can be used for overlays. Currently the council has allowed funds in excess of $750k for that purpose. The threshold would need to be lowered because these days REET collections are not that high.

  8. Joe, about your comment #1 Why not come to the council meeting and ask Bernheim. Since the report is due oct 15th. I hope there is no campaigning involved. If you go to Buckhins” s web site you will see here comments on what she has done for the mural sociaty. I have ask Peterson to delay the report till after the election to give an appearance of fairness. I hope all I am being is a cynic.

  9. Only in Edmonds can we envision wasting $70,000 on a postage stamp park. Slip me a couple of thousand from petty cash and I’ll stop by Home Depot, pick up a couple of those illegals hanging out in the parking lot, a few plants and some grass seed. For an extra $500 we’ll build the stage for DJ’s kids to dance and sing on. Next thing you know Sunset will be doing a feature article on how fabulous Edmonds is for transforming urban blight into an oasis.

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