Edmonds Council candidates address development, height issues at ACE forum

Forum moderator Rich Senderoff and candidates Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Ron Wambolt.
Forum moderator Rich Senderoff explains the rules to candidates Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Ron Wambolt.

Height limits, economic development and the environment took center stage at the Edmonds Senior Center Monday night as all six candidates for Edmonds City Council gathered at a forum co-sponsored by the Senior Center and the Alliance for Citizens of Edmonds (ACE).

We have provided a very high-level overview below, but will be posting a video of the entire forum on My Edmonds News late Tuesday or early Wedneday — just in time for the arrival of general election ballots in mailboxes later this week. Remember that you also can watch our individual interviews with each council candidate, available under the Edmonds Election Watch 2013 tab on the home page.

At the forum, the candidates agreed on many of the issues discussed, including the need to further business development along the Edmonds stretch of HIghway 99 and the importance of partnerships in creating options for the aging Harbor Square Business Complex. The future of Harbor Square is uncertain following the Council’s decision last week to no longer pursue a set of redevelopment ideas prompted by a Port of Edmonds proposal.

Incumbent Kristiana Johnson answers a question while challenger Randy Hayden listens.
Incumbent Kristiana Johnson answers a question while challenger Randy Hayden listens.

But there were a few notable exceptions to that genial tone, mainly related to the perennial Edmonds hot-button issue of building heights. Position 1 challenger Randy Hayden accused incumbent Kristiana Johnson of voting to support taller buildings — a charge she firmly denied and then proceeded to explain all of her votes related to height issues since she was appointed to the seat in June 2012.

When the candidates had an opportunity to question each other, Position 3 incumbent Adrienne Fraley-Monillas suggested to challenger Ron Wambolt that he used to oppose taller buildings but has since changed his position. Wambolt also denied Fraley-Monillas’ assertion, stating that he opposes building height increases, particularly in areas of Edmonds where they are out of scale with the rest of the buildings in the neighborhood.

Wambolt then asked Fraley-Monillas to name one piece of council legislation that she has seen through from start to finish; Fraley-Monillas replied that her strength is in fostering consensus on council and listening to constituents.

Incumbent Strom Peterson and challenger Al Rutledge.
Incumbent Strom Peterson and challenger Al Rutledge.

Position 2 incumbent Strom Peterson reiterated his commitment to environmental issues, including his opposition to coal trains running along the Edmonds waterfront. His opponent, Al Rutledge, said that one of his first priorities after being elected to the council would be to acknowledge comments made by citizens who come to testify.




6 Replies to “Edmonds Council candidates address development, height issues at ACE forum”

  1. In reguards to my question on building heights, you will see that she never anwers the question. Excuses where made for increasing height from 25′ to 30′. The Port will not proceed with Harbor Square without 55′ buildings, she voted yes on this. She’s a strong supporter of Height Transfrer Developement rights. This is what got us into trouble at the Compass Building project, so when she said that she voted for smaller buildings on Edmonds way, what she really did was voted for less height over the existing codes that builders get away with because of the Height Transfer Developement rights. This plan allows developers to gain more height over the existing codes in exchange for ?, in the Compass buildings case they put in a rain garden. I believe that we should have codes that require these tradeoff items, Rain gardens, open space areas, and green buildings. If this is what we want less require them, not use them as a bargining chip to allow for over height buildings. Randy Hayden


  2. Interesting that the term “aging Harbor Square business complex” is used above. Using the word “aging” this day and age for structures that aren’t even that old is obscene when you factor in that this is a term used to TEAR DOWN buildings only (by a certain industry, that makes $$$ off of it)………..I’m sure if some of the OLD SCHOOL (and I’m also talking about old people living in the past! heyday development/real estate) development people around Edmonds (and Ballard (where I’m from) and Kirkland) had their way, they would continue to make monetary gains for the SHORT TERM, with absolutely NO regard to this small planet and what they have done to the environment. The fact that half of the marsh was destroyed by these same people, and now they wish to continue is so out there with what we know has been destroying our environment and natural habitat for the past 50 years.
    The people of Edmonds need to make sure that the same ol’ conflicts of interest people need to step aside to let some young/current (in mind), forward thinking and creative people step up to the plate and talk of more creative ways to bring economic success to this community and it’s people. These other people have had 30+ years to show success here and most of that has been about tearing down wonderful classic architecture (what people actually come here for …..4th avenue north of Main being an example, and the water and mountains) and putting up beige condos and buildings ad nauseum, with absoloutely no look to what this has done to the environment. People do not come to Edmonds to see these structures that were put up in the last 30+ years…..The people leading this town forward need to finally not have these conflicts of interest…..Clearly THIS has not been in the best interest of the town of Edmonds and what the people living here really want. ……One can easily see that the SAME pitch was given when Harbor Square was built not that long ago
    I’ll gladly vote for Randy Hayden if he leaves his guns outside of the city limits. I think Mr. Hayden is very forward thinking with his ideas about bringing tourists here and making Edmonds a HAPPENING place and a DESTINATION……Let’s get rid of the “Deadmonds” so more YOUNG and HIP people will see this as a destination also
    I live right around the corner from Sunset, and I can tell you the people are lined up all along Sunset ALL of the time looking at the sunsets, mountains, water, birds, boats, etc…….We don’t see ANY people looking at the development in Edmonds….Pretty much a no brainer……..


  3. My opponent is using a negative campaign tactic to gain political support. Apparently he thinks that Edmonds voters will believe anything he says. During the debate, I set the record straight. I answered his false allegations and made no excuses. Yet, here he goes again.

    I have served on the City Council since June, 2012. During that time, I have never voted to increase building heights, anywhere. I have voted to reduce building heights for the zones that permitted the Compass development on SR 104, Edmonds Way.

    Regarding Harbor Square, I was working with staff on a decision matrix to guide City Councils discussion of the proposal. Instead, the City Council voted to deny the Port of Edmonds’ Comprehensive Plan amendment. I voted no because I wanted to continue the conversation.

    Edmonds is my hometown and I want to preserve it for future generations. As a Council Member, I am working with the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission. As an urban planner, I know that future development must take into consideration the built and natural environment as well as transportation needs.

    I believe that I am the better choice for City Council Position 1, based upon my knowledge and experience. I respectfully ask for your vote.


  4. “I am working with the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission”……..
    I’ve been wondering since I moved here WHY there have been numerous structures that were listed as Edmonds Historic PRESERVATION (and actually WERE historic landmarks)that have been torn down, replaced by new development whatever, and the original Edmonds Historic Preservation signed placed on the new developer buildings…….How odd that a “Historic Preservation Commission” would think that was ok…..Who are these people?……something to consider while “working with the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission”


  5. Kristiana you are so right your opponent is using old scare tactics and is not looking at your record. I urge the voters of Edmonds to think positive and vote for you


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