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Councilmember Joan Bloom argued unsuccessfully that the proposal — which had originally been submitted by the port but withdrawn after the council made it clear they were going to put their own stamp on it — was essentially moot, and that it would be better to start from scratch.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.