Oct. 6: City to host open house on waterfront issues as part of Comprehensive Plan update

Washington State’s Growth Management Act requires that cities and counties periodically update their comprehensive plans, and the City of Edmonds is hosting a virtual open house Oct. 6 to obtain residents’ input on one set of issues identified for study — the city’s central waterfront.

The city said it is just beginning the review of the Comprehensive Plan for the 2024 update, with adoption required by June 20, 2024. In announcing the Oct. 6 meeting, it said that the narrative, graphics, and goals/policies related to the waterfront and nearby Edmonds Marsh area should be updated to reflect newer information. This project is a background study and does not include the development of a more detailed waterfront plan, the city said.

To begin this review, a virtual open house is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83744504382?pwd=Sm1xLzJvbDVQbU1ycFpXRWdIK3Vkdz09

You can also access via phone: US: +1 253 215 8782

Webinar ID: 837 4450 4382

Passcode: 418643

The primary waterfront issues driving the Comprehensive Plan update review are the Edmonds Crossing Ferry project and the Edmonds Marsh. The former Edmonds Crossing project – designed to move the ferry terminal from its current Main Street location to the south side of the Edmonds Marsh – has been a prominent feature of the city’s Comprehensive Plan for many years.

The city said that the Edmonds Crossing Project is no longer in the Washington State Ferries Long Range Plan, which includes a 2040 planning horizon. Removing the Edmonds Crossing project from the Comprehensive Plan necessitates an evaluation of several issues related to the downtown waterfront area, including traffic, downtown connections, economic development and the Edmonds Marsh.

“With the Edmonds Crossing project no longer in the Washington Ferries long-range plan, there is an opportunity for more extensive environmental improvements around the Edmonds Marsh associated with the Willow Creek daylighting project,” the city said in its announcement. “The property south of the marsh is currently designated Master Plan Development in the Comprehensive Plan, which allows a mix of commercial and residential uses. Exploring the future of this property is also a part of this Comprehensive Plan review.”

The Oct. 6 meeting is an initial public engagement step in the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update, and there will be more opportunities for public engagement throughout the update process. Information regarding the 2024 update will be provided on the City’s Planning Division website.


  1. This is a big deal folks! Pay close attention. Think about what you want for our waterfront — and what you DON’T want. I know it is a pain trying to get informed about this sort of thing; but if we don’t, who knows what the outcome will be? The impact of these decisions will be long lasting and far reaching.

    If you don’t feel qualified to sort through the proposals, talk to someone who is qualified: someone who understands the science issues, who knows the relevant recent history, and who can decipher the acronyms. Once informed, speak out at the October 6 hearing — put it on your calendar now.

    This is incredibly more important than choosing signs for Hwy 99, which seems to have taken up a surprising amount of city energy.

  2. “Breaking News”-“Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers on Tuesday submitted his proposed 2022 budget-Spend approximately $36 million for a wide range of projects within the county’s environmental stewardship strategy, INCLUDING FISH PASSAGE, land conservation, HABITAT RESTORATION, forest health, and climate change action plan.”

    I have seen Executive Somers post on MEN so maybe he can read this post? Here is a link to Edmonds Marsh (one of the few urban, tideally-influenced, saltwater estuaries remaining in our region). I am seeing a Golden opportunity here with these funds available locally. Leadership reach out to Dave Somers please. I heard rumors of $16m cost tag to restore our Marsh? So Dave we don’t need the entire $36m .


    1. Thank you for this information. Snohomish County also has money available for rain gardens.

      The Edmonds Marsh is currently a $17MM stormwater project which was reclassified from parks and recreation three years ago after Carrie Hite left. The City then separated Marina Beach out and applied for grants with 100% match (along with committing $4MM of city funds). Marina Beach is the mouth of the near-shore estuary and the entire area should treated holistically and let’s not forget the Unocal Property. WRIA 8 has suggested to handle the project holistically once the property is resolved with clean-up.

      Joe Scordino or I can give you the complete history of the near-shore estuary and how grant funding can be available both state and locally IF treated holistically as a near-shore estuary not a city park and then a stormwater project (utilities rates are predicated on this number).

      One only needs to look at Meadowdale Beach which is currently under the WRIA 8 purview as it is also a near-shore estuary with a “beach park”. Sno Cty Their Parks and Rec department has been obtaining all necessary grants available. Senator Cantwell has been supportive of this near-shore estuary project and in 2017 and was able put money $3.5MM into the federal transportation budget for a new railroad trestle. Their stormwater component was only a small portion of this project (clean-up pipes) but their public works manages the construction. Total cost of this near-story estuary restoration is about $10MM.

      In regards to purchasing the WSDOT property, one only needs to look at Wayne’s’ Golf Course in Bothell. That entire $14.45MM purchase from the LLC was all funded by grants over the three years Forterra held it. BUT from a comprehensive plan, the City needs to remove all the references to Edmonds Crossing and rewrite the masterplan for the UNOCAL property as it has commercial zoning as a component.

      Joe Scordino or I will gladly chat with anyone & provide all the grant documents currently in the database. While I am not a scientist, I have many scientists that support this holistic approach.

      1. I agree that a comprehensive holistic approach as you suggest is the way to go. As a retired planner I have a long list of updates for protecting the Marsh in place of the defunct Edmonds Crossing and as you recommend, all references need to be deleted from the current plan. A wholistic new designation for the Marsh is needed in place of the current development oriented one. Will be glad to discuss with you at some point.

      2. Thank you immensely for shepherding this project You, Joe, and volunteers need to be commended and supported to see this project to fruition. Please keep us informed; this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore and preserve an Edmonds treasurer….so vital to the health of our entire community. May I pledge whatever support I can; count me in.

  3. Marjie Fields is correct. This is important. The City consultant is collecting ideas from the public (us) about what we want along the waterfront and what we do NOT want. And what is needed to restore and maintain the Marsh. Better access via an improved boardwalk would be a start. All ideas should be provided through this process. Ultimately it is the City Council who will vote to amend the comprehensive plan so there will be many opportunities to influence the final product but getting your ideas and concerns on the list now is critical.

    1. The City Administration must first DOCKET any comp plan changes and rather than wait until 2024 when the entire comprehensive plan needs to be complete, Council can approve changed or clean-up items each year.

  4. The Marsh is a treasure and it is absolutely important to protect and restore it. To this end it is vital to use the old oil company storage area for the purpose of extending the protected wildlife habitat and truly daylighting Willow Creek. I will not be able to take part tonight, but I urge the City to follow what is best for restoring the remaining area of the Marsh.

  5. A major focus of the waterfront plan must be preserving and enhancing what is left of the rare urban saltwater estuary known as the Edmonds Marsh. In the past, ignorance and greed have combined to nearly destroy this irreplaceable treasure on our waterfront. The waterfront is the first line of defense against seawater rise with the climate crisis, and a functioning saltwater estuary can mitigate the predicted damage.

    The former UNOCAL property on the south side of the marsh is key to protecting it. Development on that property must NOT be considered; the property must be used to restore the natural functions of the estuary, which includes providing salmon habitat

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