Next step for Harbor Square: Edmonds Council to seek common ground with Port

Following months of squabbling, the Edmonds City Council agreed Tuesday night to come to the table with the Port of Edmonds to discuss moving forward with a plan for incorporating a Master Plan for the Port-owned Harbor Square Business Complex into the City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan.

The agreement came after the council defeated, on a 5-2 vote, a motion by Edmonds City Council President Lora Petso to end council consideration of the original Harbor Square Master Plan proposal. Both Petso and Councilmember Joan Bloom argued unsuccessfully that the proposal — which had originally been submitted by the port but withdrawn after the council made it clear they were going to put their own stamp on it — was essentially moot, and that it would be better to start from scratch.

But the majority of councilmembers opposed that idea, noting that Port officials, members of the Edmonds Planning Board that recommended the plan to council, and city staff had already put significant work into the proposal.

“There’s no reason to start over,” said Councilmember Strom Peterson, agreeing with Petso’s suggestion that a small group of councilmembers representing all sides of the issue work with port to identify common ground. “I’ll bring cheese,” quipped Peterson, owner of the Cheesemonger’s Table.

“To have the Port sit down at a the table with us would probably be a step in the right direction,” added Councilmember Kristiana Johnson.

Mayor Dave Earling told councilmembers that while he appreciated the collaborative approach, the city’s planning department “has a heavy workload at the moment” so he’s not certain how much assistance staff can provide to the effort.

Councilmembers also agreed 5-2 (Petso and Bloom voting against) to support a resolution endorsing placement of a $2 million, three-year parks levy on the November 2013 election ballot. The resolution is a show of support for the idea; the council still would need to pass an ordinance later to put the measure before voters.

Phil Lovell and Bruce Witenberg, members of the council-appointed Park Levy Exploration Committee, explained that the levy idea is being proposed as a way to restore cuts made to the city’s parks budget in recent years. It also would free up $750,000 in Real Estate Excise Tax funds, which the council could reallocate to other needs, including paving of city streets.

The levy would cost taxpayers $10 a month for a $350,000 home or $12 monthly for a $400,000 home.

To be placed on the November general election ballot, it must be submitted to the State of Washington no later than Aug. 6, 2013.

In addition, the council:

– Approved unanimously an interim ordinance to accommodate both a year-round public market and a Wednesday evening market, the latter of which is planned for the new Salish Crossing complex starting June 12.

– Directed City Attorney Jeff Taraday to come up with language that would exempt temporary vendors at city fairs and festivals, such as the Edmonds Car Show and the Edmonds Arts Festival, from a recently-passed fee increase intended for street vendors.

– Authorized the mayor to sign agreements related to the Perrinville Creek Stormwater Flow Reduction Retrofit Study.

– Delayed consideration of an agenda item that would have directed the Planning Board and Economic Development Commission regarding Council priorities on Westgate and Five Corners.

  1. $432 for every owner of a median value home. I hope the additional revenue is used more wisely than in the past.

  2. The following narrative prepared by Staff was included in the May 21, 2013 City Council Meeting Agenda packet:

    “Given that the Port has withdrawn their application for a master plan, the Council needs to discuss how it wants to proceed. If the Council desires to continue with planning for Harbor Square, this would require docketing a new plan proposal that would need to go through the entire planning process. This would necessitate substantial staff time, review and hearing(s) by the Planning Board, and subsequent review and hearing(s) by the City Council.”

    Has the Council decided to docket a new plan proposal? Is whatever they have decided to do going to have to go through the entire planning process?

    Does anybody understand this process? What has taken place and where are we?

    Is this decision to seek common ground with the Port related to docketing a new plan proposal?

    As the Port has withdrawn its application, are the Port’s appeal rights different if the City acts as if this is an amendment of the Port’s withdrawn plan as opposed to a new plan proposal?.

    If a new plan proposal is being prepared, should it involve a CONCURRENT Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Rezone process? Would that be more efficient?

    1. Page 10 of the March 19, 2013 APPROVED City Council Meeting minutes includes the following:

      “Councilmember Buckshnis clarified the issue she was trying to address was that many citizens still think the Council is working off the Port’s Harbor Square Master Plan. Via her motion, she wanted to make it clear that the Council was no longer considering the Port’s original plan.”

      I believe the City still has a responsibility to its citizens to clarify whether or not the City Council’s actions and 4-3 vote on March 19th constituted DENIAL of the Port’s application.

      Can the City AMEND a plan that the City Council clearly represented they were no longer WORKING OFF OF, LOOKING AT, or CONSIDERING?

      Can the City AMEND a plan related to an application that has also been officially withdrawn?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.