A town hall meeting Monday evening focusing on the future of the Westgate neighborhood sparked spirited discussion among the more than 100 attendees.
The focus was a plan that has been under development by the City of Edmonds for several years and included two years of work by the Planning Board and three public hearings, following initial data collection, citizen surveys and meetings, and reports initiated by University of Washington undergraduate and graduate planning and architecture students. But as always the devil is in the details, and many expressed considerable concern about issues including parking, building heights, building setbacks, and striking a reasonable balance between business, residential and other uses.
Edmonds City Councilmember Joan Bloom, who organized the event and moderated the discussion, was quick to point out that while she has issues with the plan in its current form, there are many good things about it.
“It’s not that there are no good things in the plan,” she said, “but it could be better.”
One issue she raised is the provision for affordable housing.
“Affordable housing means housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a person’s income,” she explained. “It doesn’t mean simply smaller housing units.”
Additional concerns were raised by town hall participants related to traffic flow, availability of parking, pedestrian safety, building heights and setbacks. An oft-repeated complaint was that the city had not taken sufficient measures to notify them about plan details and how they could make their voices heard. A comment suggesting that the Westgate plan be coordinated with an overall plan for traffic flow on State Route 104 drew sustained applause.
As the meeting concluded, Councilmember Bloom made a point of reminding everyone that the next hearing on the plan will be before the Edmonds City Council on Oct. 7. Details of the plan are available on the City of Edmonds website here.
We will post the video of the meeting on My Edmonds News TV Tuesday.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel