Edmonds is a unique place. Not just our downtown, but our neighborhoods too. I want to keep it that way. The building height issue, unfortunately, has been used in past and current elections to divide our community. The argument is framed as keep downtown Edmonds the way it is or get used to tall buildings blocking our views.
No one wants tall buildings in the historic downtown. I am working to protect our historic downtown. I support existing efforts as a Council representative on the Historic Preservation Commission and am an individual member of the Edmonds Historical Museum. I am also looking at innovative ways to protect our downtown as a historic district through the Main Streets USA program or Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).
I know from my experience as a planner and now as an elected official, most people want reasonable solutions that are fact-based and citizen driven.
The fundamental question for whoever is on the Council is,
How do we make sure we are providing enough homes for future residents and support to existing and new businesses while keeping the character and charm of our existing neighborhoods? Our current Comprehensive Plan, the guiding document for any budget and building decisions gives us very good direction and took years to refine. I will look to be sure any future proposal is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan.
My voting record on this issue is clear.
1. I did not vote to raise building heights in the downtown core
2. I did not vote to allow for buildings of 55’ at Harbor Square.
3. I actually voted to reduce building heights in some zones after the Compass development on SR104.
The first vote was a technical change in the wording of height limits in the Business Development (BD) zones 2,3,4 to be consistent with the wording in BD 1 zone. BD 1 zoning already says the limit is 30’ to allow for a roof line. Zones 2,3,4 had wording that also allowed 30’ but it was written as 25’ plus 5’ for a roof line.
I supported, per the recommendation of the Planning Board and an extensive public process by the Port of Edmonds, a formal discussion about the Master Plan conceptual proposal.
I believe in thoughtful, fair, honest and inclusive debate. You can always count on me to follow that policy.