Letter to the editor: Point Edwards building too tall for Edmonds


This past Wednesday evening the Architectural Design Board (ADB) approved the construction of a massive new five-story building as part of the Point Edwards development that will dominate the skyline and be out of character with the surrounding condo buildings and Woodway neighborhood. There has been strong public opposition to this project since the developer let the originally approved permit for 65 condominium homes lapse and replaced it with a proposal to build 85 smallish units that will  be marketed either as condos or apartments.

Over 100 residents of Edmonds and Woodway (including Mayor Carla Nichols) attended the ADB meeting to express their objections. During the meeting, it was noted that over 55 letters of opposition had been submitted to Edmonds’ Planning  Division — in addition to the signatures of nearly 700 online petitioners.

Despite thoughtful recommendations from the Edmonds city planner to reduce a portion of the building to four stories to better blend with the topography of the sloped site as well as the scale of adjacent properties and to achieve consistency with the Point Edwards Master Plan, the ADB rejected them and approved the project as proposed with only one dissenting vote.  ABD members ignored the Edmonds design codes for which they are mandated to consider and enforce and, instead, focused solely on the building codes that appear to be met.

It appeared to me (and others who attended) that the ADB seemed intimidated by the thinly veiled threats made by the developer’s attorney of a lawsuit should the building not be approved as presented. They seemed frightened to even discuss the proposed changes in a thoughtful way. The developer’s attorney repeatedly alleged the city planners misled the developer by not being forthcoming in a timely manner about the most recently recommended design changes and creating last minute surprises.

I submit to you that it was the developer who led all astray by changing the plans radically in the last 18 months after assuring even the most recent buyers at Point Edwards that the final building would be of similar character and quality as the other nine buildings. Last minute surprises, indeed, are an experience we share.

We will appeal to the Edmonds City Council for a review of this decision with the goal of having the city planner’s recommendation adopted so the proposed building is adapted in scale for consistency with the adjacent neighbors, Edmonds community, and Master Plan design standards.

Stephen Reibman

  1. Good luck with appealing this ADB decision. A few years ago I successfully appealed to the city council the ADB’s decisions regarding Old Mill Town. You will need to appeal driven not by emotions but strictly by the facts. The ADB members (a few years ago, don’t know if it is still this way) were/are political appointees and some lacked total knowledge on their subject. As their ( then) President said to me in one of the many meetings I attended to voice my objections: “we are here to serve the developers”.
    It is a shame that threats of lawsuits and any kind of intimidation should govern this body so extremely important to what Edmonds will look like in the future.
    Elisabeth Larman
    Former resident of Edmonds.

    1. Elisabeth
      I am curious whether your appeal was based on code and fact only or whether missteps of the ADB were included. It was clear many on the ADB did not recognize what their actual responsibilities were at the May 15th meeting.

      1. Teresa has my email address on file if you’d like to contact me directly. My answers would be to lengthy for this forum.

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