Edmonds City Council grandfathers existing wireless antennas, OKs process for filling director-level jobs

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night kept its meeting relatively short — just under two hours — and completed the following business:

– Held a public hearing on changes to city code that will grandfather in existing cellular antennas and — after receiving no public comment — unanimously approved the measure. The council also approved a separate agenda item involving a request by the law firm representing AT&T, to modify an existing wireless antenna it owns at the Commodore Condominiums building, 546 Alder St. Any new antennas coming into town will have to meet stricter code requirements approved in 2011, City Planner Michael Clugston told the council.

– Directed the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance governing the process for filling director-level city staff appointment. The ordinance includes a provision for the council to interview the top three candidates for each position prior to the mayor’s final appointment, unless a super-majority of the council (five members) agrees to interview as few as two. The approved version also includes an addition that would allow the mayor to bring forth candidates from the previous recruitment cycle if the vacancy occurs within nine months of the person being hired. And also under that nine-month time frame, it permits councilmembers to confirm an appointment based on a recent previous round of interviews.

The council also listened to an information-only presentation from Public Works Director Phil Wililams on the city’s 2014 Pavement Preservation Program, highlighting the streets scheduled for improvements this year.

2014 City pavement program

According to Williams, the work will include both chip seal and pavement overlay work (see map) and will be covered by the $1.2 million allocated to street work in the city’s 2014 budget

The chip seal process, which involves combining layers of asphalt with fine gravel, is less expensive than a traditional street overlay but generally doesn’t last as long, Williams explained. It is generally used on on streets “just beginning to deteriorate noticeably,” he said, while overlays are applied to roads that are in far worse shape.

When asked by Councilmember Joan Bloom how the department selected which roads would be repaired, Williams replied that public works crews went out and reviewed the condition of all streets in the city and categorized them by condition. The city also took into account factors such as traffic volumes of the roads to be fixed and also attempted to spread the work throughout the city’s neighborhoods.

At the end of the meeting, Council President Diane Buckshnis updated councilmembers on possible schedules for interviewing the 15 candidates who have applied for appointment to the Position 6 seat vacated by Frank Yamamoto. Buckshnis proposed that the council  spread the interviews over two dates — Jan. 28 and 29 — with two-and-a-half hours allocated for each night. However, Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said that schedule could give those who are interviewed later in the process an unfair advantage as they would have a chance to see interviews from the previous day — assuming they are televised. Another option considered was to interview all candidates in one five-hour session — either during a single evening or on a Saturday.

The council is scheduled to make its selection during its Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting.


  1. Mr. Turner, your question about public notices is an interesting one. Here is what seems to happen today. If a topic is going to be discussed by the council it is on their agenda and the notice for the council meetings is made public. But to know the council is going to discuss cell towers an hold a public hearing requires one to check the agendas to find out what is playing. What you are suggesting is that maybe we need other ways for public notice that does not require periodic reviews of what boards, commissions, and council is planning to discuss? Would it be helpful to have a laundry list of topics that could be track as to when pubilc input will be taken? We can always do better with todays technology but what is it we want to do beyond todays methods of public notices?

  2. Our elected officials did pretty good work in 2013 and appear to have their eye on the business ball in the new year.

  3. We should note that cities are required to spend a lot of money putting legal notices in print publications that very few people read anymore. It seems like a very antiquated way to get the word out.

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