City releases list of non-conforming condominiums in Edmonds

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A reader asked if there was a list of the Edmonds condominiums that exceed the density allowed by the current zoning. We asked Kernen Lien, the city’s environmental programs manager, and he provided one, shown above.

However, he added that while this is the current list, “it likely does not include every nonconforming condominium. If anyone wants us to look a particular property, the can call the planning division and we will give a quick check.”

The number is 425-771-0220.

17 Replies to “City releases list of non-conforming condominiums in Edmonds”

  1. How does a situation like this happen. if a property is zoned for say 10 units end up with 15? Or any number exceeding the zoned maximum?

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  2. Carol the issue is some buildings were built in accordance with the code at the time. In your example the original code allowed 15 but the new code allows 10. So if a disaster hits and they were forced to use the current code they could only build 10 units and 5 folks would lose their home. Part is do to changes in density and part is do to change of height.

    I thought the issue was also about height as well. Those units build in building that were ok at the time I thought the new code impacted their ability to build to the old height limit? Do anyone know about the if height is one of the elements being considered for grandfathering?

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      1. So I wonder why the 5-story Ebb Tide condo building is not on this list. It is the tallest of them all.

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  3. The zoning that caused the downsizing was created sometime after the buildings were originally legally constructed.

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  4. Over the years city staff has said the Ebb Tide was built higher then the current code. If so it would be part of the list and discussion of what to do for non conforming condos. In addition to allow it to be rebuilt it would be proper for the city to allow it to be rebuilt to the new safety standards developed for the Waterfront Activities Center. These standards would allow the Ebb Tide to be built 2 feet higher than today.

    Before we jump into any action by the city we need to carefully define what problem we are trying to solve, engage all the stakeholders impacted, develop and evaluate alternative solutions and then decide. Quick knee jerk solutions may only come back to bit us.

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  5. God help that poor lady whose loan won’t go thru, that prompted this latest Edmond’s management debacle. Sounds like her cause just got thrown under the bus. That “shoot from the hip” guy looks better to me all the time. Like the past well thought out code changes and planning haven’t come back to “bit” us.

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    1. Great “katch”, seeing the error after pressing “post” made it look to be in bold and caps! No way to correct. Thank for finding.

      Council needs a solution to deal with all non-compliant multi-family buildings, including any that are on the waterfront. One would hope all waterfront buildings would be allowed to be reconstructed using the new high tide height measurement system created for the Waterfront Activities Center. Placing a band aid on the issue my sound good but the wound may need a more careful look for alternative solutions and a review of unintended consequences. Reviewing the meeting provided a more complete understanding of how often over time council has shifted the code for such issues.

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  6. Anybody else miss the good ‘ol days of “Deadmonds” when the biggest issue before the Council was whether or not your cat should be on a leash? It only took the city fathers about 6 mos. to hash that one out, as I recall. I give this condo/apartments issue about two years on the “Deadmonds” scale of progress.

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  7. The cat leash issue had 3 steps if I recall. 1. First round to create the leash law. 2. Repeal the law. 3. Put the law back in place. Look at the code you will see 20 plus pages dealing with this and other animal issues. The code even describes the type of leash to be used and most people I have seen with some form of retractable leash are using one that is against the code. Maybe they should be grandfathered in some way to make them legal.

    My bet is council will move on some temp plan tomorrow, and then wait for the planning board recommendation that will come very quickly. So far council has defined the problem as condo financing. The problem with this part of the code is bigger than that when you look at what seem to be council’s overriding goals for land use. My concern is they are not really defining the problem they want to solve and may set out a plan that will have to be reviewed when the next issue comes to the table of when and how to make changes to the code.

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  8. The Council had a temporary plan last week; they just chose to play politics with it because the Mayor and “his” City Council” members didn’t like who presented it and how it was presented. It wasn’t presented by their heir apparent.
    Darrol, I really appreciate your take on all this. I’m not as confident as you that anything temporary will be done. As you point out, this will involve condos, apartments and even small houses on single lots being rented out contrary to code (that exists across the street from me). This won’t be quick or easy. I think each form of non-compliance will require separate litigation and code.

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  9. I fail to understand how any temporary deal, like for 6 months, will sway any bank to grant a mortgage with repayment over several years. The only value I see in a temporary deal is that it would protect current owners and mortgage holders for the term of the temporary deal.

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  10. It would be a general statement that the City cares about it’s citizens when they are harmed by government actions and/or inactions past and present. A show of unity for helping the victim , would have been more positive for the community image than that gang fight last week. You are right though, Ron, it would mostly be symbolic until the long term fix is in. It amazes me this issue hasn’t come up long before this.

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  11. I believe that the affected buildings should be permanently grandfathered for any code changes that would cause the number of units to be reduced, causing the building owners investment to also be reduced. This seems to be a no brainer from a risk standpoint. I’ve lived around here for 40 years and I cannot think of a single multi-family building that was destroyed to the extent that it had to be rebuilt.

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  12. Good points Ron. I totally agree with you. That shouldn’t take more than one or two Council meetings I would think. If we let the politicians, lawyers, and professional planners loose on this one, there will be no end of discussion; point and counterpoint, and people like our nice lady presenting the issue will have no satisfaction for months. I hope your experience is listened to tonight.

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  13. All the lender has asked for is a “rebuild” letter from the City of Edmonds. They are not able to write one due to the current wording in the building code. If the interim emergency ordinance is put in place then they should be able to do that and state that the building can be rebuilt. The City Council and Planning Department are already scheduling the procedures that need to happen to put the permanent change through as quickly as possible. I believe they will correct this issue very quickly. They are very concerned about the homeowners in these condominium buildings and the owners of apartment buildings that are affected by this situation.

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  14. Council has sent the issue to the Planning Board who will hold public hearing and send recommendation back to Council. Council has scheduled two public hearings, May 14 and 21. They will have the recommendation of the Planning Board and the benefit of the public hearing and if all goes well they should be able to make a final decision on May 21. The can always make the emergency decision tonight but this likely is for show and will not enough to cause a bank to loan money if they are concerned.

    Care should always be in order when we change codes that take value away from citizens. Often we do so for the “greater good”. We are sometimes not very good an understanding the balance between the two.

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